February 28, 2024
Pier banks $2.4M to launch ‘Stripe for credit’


While working at fintech lending platform Stilt, Jessica Zhang and Alex Hegevall Clarke saw how expensive and time-consuming it was for the credit industry to outfit their in-house tech stacks in order to adhere to stringent federal and state regulations. So they decided to build something that would be easier.

“Businesses, whether a venture-backed startup or even brick-and-mortar lenders, really struggle to launch products quickly and compliantly because of how fragmented existing solutions are and the high compliance hurdles,” Zhang told TechCrunch. “Pier is building ‘Stripe for credit,’ which is a way for companies to automate their own credit products.”

Here’s how it works: Developers add Pier’s APIs with a few lines of codes, saving months of labor and millions of dollars, Zhang said. Pier’s technology then manages the credit lifecycle from end-to-end, including origination, underwriting, compliance and servicing.

Other companies have also claimed to be “Stripe for credit,” for example, Setpoint, a startup that developed software for faster loan transactions. Even Stripe itself created new credit products for businesses about six months ago.

However, Pier, which launched in 2023, is more of an ongoing, dynamic process that evolves throughout each loan’s lifecycle, unlike payments and banking, Zhang said. Other solutions out there address specific components of the lifecycle, like underwriting or Know Your Customer, while Pier provides a more comprehensive offering.

Pier is a SaaS model and charges a monthly fee that includes a monthly minimum plus a usage fee based on loan volume, use case and on the number of inquiries. Some of those use cases include credit builders, buy now, pay later for weddings and clean energy, salary advance loans, merchant advance and portfolio lines of credit.

Zhang was mum on the number of users and revenue growth, but did say the company has more than a few years of runway.

The company recently secured $2.4 million in seed funding. Investors in the round include Y Combinator, Liquid 2 Ventures, ACME, Horizon Ventures and a group of angel investors, including Brian Neer of Morgan Stanley; Seth Weinstein (former CEO of Morgan Stanley Fund Services) and YC partner Divya Bhat.

Zhang plans to invest the new capital into product development and building a team.



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