Wagestream completes GBP20m funding round

Income streaming provider, Wagestream, which enables employees to access their earned wages in real time, today announced it has completed a GBP20 million Series B funding round.

This latest investment — which takes the total raised to GBP65 million — will be used to consolidate the company’s dominant market share in the UK and to fund its international expansion.

Early-stage venture capital specialist Northzone is leading the funding round with participation from QED Investors, Latitude Ventures and Balderton Capital. 

Since 1996, Northzone has raised more than GBP1.4 billion and made over 150 investments in companies including Spotify, Zopa and Trustpilot. QED Investors is a leading venture firm specialising in disruptive fintech companies. QED has backed companies including Clearscore, Fidel, Capitalise, Restless, and Zopa.

Latitude Ventures, the Series B+ growth sister fund to LocalGlobe, is known for investments in Transferwise, Zoopla, Monzo, Citymapper and SecretEscapes. It was launched in 2018 by LoveFilm co-founder Saul Klein, Robin Klein and Julian Rowe. 

Tech investor Balderton has raised more than GBP3 billion over 20 years and has backed start-ups including Revolut and Nutmeg. 

Wagestream’s earlier stage investors include The Joseph Rowntree Foundation through the Fair By Design Fund, QED Investors, the London Co-investment Fund (LCIF) and Village Global — a global VC backed by leading entrepreneurs including Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos.

Wagestream, which enables staff to draw down a percentage of their earned wages any day of the month for a flat GBP1.75 fee, has seen demand for its product skyrocket among major UK brands over the past year. New client sign-ups were particularly strong in the second quarter, as employers sought to make their staff more financially resilient in the face of Covid-19.

The latest brands and organisations to embrace income streaming include Honest Burgers, SA Brain, Fuller’s and two NHS trusts (Camden & Islington NHS Foundation Trust and Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust).

By enabling staff to access their pay as they earn it, Wagestream gives them far greater flexibility with their finances. This means they can avoid taking out expensive short-term loan facilities or credit, should they be faced with a financial emergency. With Wagestream, there are no loans involved and therefore no interest is charged. Access to earnings means many forms of high-interest credit are easier to avoid.

Wagestream clients have identified a number of CSR and HR advantages to the service. For example, employees have greater financial flexibility and security, which increases staff loyalty, while employers trying to fill overtime shifts, particularly during unsociable hours, have noticed it becomes easier to do this once they use Wagestream.

This is because employers can elect to give workers access to that pay as soon as their shift is over — thereby re-establishing the link between work and reward. In fact, research shows that shift workers choose to work 22% more hours on average once enrolled in Wagestream. The company’s research showed that 77% of users felt less stressed, 38% had avoided going into their overdraft and 43% said they’d avoided using a payday loan. 

Through its Safestream savings product, Wagestream also enables users to put aside a small amount of their pay before it is paid to them. This means it avoids landing in their current accounts and so is less likely to be frittered away, again boosting financial resilience.

Wagestream is leading a growing trend in workplace financial services, and building technology to allow the employer to be the provider of a new wave of fair financial products, that boost the financial resilience of staff and also protect them from predatory consumer lenders.

Peter Briffett, CEO and Co-Founder, Wagestream, says: “Where people work and how they work is changing by the day, all the more so since Covid-19 struck. Now the way in which people get paid is changing, too, and at scale. Wagestream provides a financial flexibility that is perfectly suited to today’s agile and progressive workforce. 

“Income streaming is a fast-growing alternative to the antiquated monthly pay cycle, and is being embraced by more brands, charities and organisations by the day as it boosts employees’ financial resilience. Each day, too many staff in too many companies are being forced into the hands of predatory payday lenders because they are only paid their earnings once every 30 days, enabling people to access their earned wages anytime keeps them out of debt and also incentivises them to do more shifts because they are motivated by the ability to use that extra income immediately to make specific purchases.”

Jeppe Zink, Partner, Northzone, adds: “Income streaming is a unique innovative financial solution that improves people’s lives and there is no doubt that, in the future, Wagestream will become as important as any other benefits like healthcare. The increasing popularity of income streaming, and the way that employers are fast getting wise to how they benefit hand in hand with their staff, is tracking the trajectory we all expected to see, which is outstanding progress.”