In September 2011, Ryan Gilbert testified before the US House of Representatives Financial Services Committee to discuss problems related to a consumer’s access to credit. When the large banking institutions were bailed out in 2008, he said, there was an oft-neglected side effect. “Those same banks that were ‘too big to fail’ are now too scared to serve their customers,” he said.
He was talking about the people trying to make ends meet: the sub-prime or near-prime customers who might look for a $1,000 loan rather than a $10,000 loan.
These are the customers Gilbert, founder and CEO of credit and lending startup BillFloat, is trying to help. Today the San Francisco-based company announced a Series C funding round of $21 million, led by Investor Growth Capitol, with participation from Venrock, FirstRound Capital, and Baseline Ventures. To date, the company has raised a total of $36.9 million.
BillFloat :: Life Happens
BillFloat Demo @ Finovate Spring 2011 Conference
BillFloat, Inc., the nation's only provider of small-dollar loans for consumer bill payment, announced today that it has launched its Less is More program – setting new levels of flexibility and responsibility for small-dollar consumer lending.
With more Bay Area residents expected to be pushed out of the banking system by the rising cost of credit and checking accounts, entrepreneurs are tapping into what the industry calls the “unbanked.”
BillFloat, a service that gives consumers more time to pay their bills, today secured a first round of funding for $4.5 million. The round was led by First Round Capital with notable seed investors Paypal and Venrock also participating. The company works as a micro-credit provider and lets consumers pay their service bills, including cable, utility, wireless, auto lease, phone, housing and insurance. A user visits BillFloat, selects the service provider and then inputs the amount needed to pay the bill. BillFloat pays the bill and then gives the user 30 days to pay the company back. The company adds a small fee for the added time. For example, an $80 bill may cost an added $9.99 for an extra 30-days.
BillFloat, a San Francisco-based startup incubated by PayPal and Venrock, has raised $4.5 million in a Series A round led by First Round Capital, with renewed participation of PayPal and Venrock and joined by early-stage funds and angel investors such as Jeff Clavier's SoftTech VC, Ron Conway's SV Angel and Mint.com board member Mark Goines.