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Founded in 2016, New York-based Petal aims to make financial services more accessible, allowing people to build credit and spend responsibly. The company uses machine learning to expand credit access, particularly to those who are new to credit and overlooked by big banks.
The company is growing quickly, and accelerated during the global pandemic as big banks were pulling back, Petal’s Jason Gross, co-founder and CEO, told Crunchbase News.
“We recently reached a milestone of 100,000 approved cardholders,” he added. “Ths funding allows us to continue that growth, but more significantly, this is the first depository financial institution for Petal cards. We are not just providing a typical credit card, but pioneering a whole new way of looking at credit risk.”
Petal offers two Visa card products: one for consumers who already have a credit history and want to improve their credit, and one to help people to build credit with a no-fee credit card that provides cash back and higher limits.
Approximately 70 percent of Petal’s card users had little to no credit history, Gross said, adding that cardholders with no credit history were able to raise their credit scores to an average of 678 after two months.
The new facility includes $100 million from Silicon Valley Bank and $26.6 million from Trinity Capital. The funding will enable Petal to focus on providing better alternatives to big credit card companies and to expand its user base to millions, Gross said.
“Having a bank endorse our approach is something we have worked at for years,” he added. “We have been able to prove, over the last few years, that using cash flow instead of credit scores is better at predicting creditworthiness.”
The funding complements Petal’s existing $300 million facility led by Jeffries in 2019. In total, the company closed on more than $440 million in debt and raised more than $100 million equity financing, according to Gross. This includes a $55 million Series C round of funding in 2020 led by existing investor Valar Ventures.
“SVB is proud to support the Petal team with this warehouse facility as they strive to enable individuals to access and build credit responsibly,” said Brian Foley, managing director of warehouse lending at Silicon Valley Bank, in a written statement. “Reaching 100,000 cards approved is a significant growth milestone and we look forward to continuing to work with Petal as the company matures to the next phase of growth.”
Petal is not alone in gaining investor attention for helping people build credit. Earlier this month, San Francisco-based SeedFi, a financial health company, announced a $65 million raise led by Andreessen Horowitz that included $15 million Series A funding and $50 million in debt. SeedFi plans to use the funding to build out its platform aimed at Americans who don’t have adequate resources to build credit, save money, access funds and plan for the future.
Photo of credit cards courtesy of Petal.
Blogroll illustration: Li-Anne Dias
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