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When Lilac Bar David cofounded neobank Lili in 2018, the former payments and banking executive wanted to create a brand that would be friendly to freelancers, a market that comprises 60 million U.S. workers, and especially to women.
Challenger bank Lili refocused its product marketing around one of its core proposition values: helping freelancers optimize their tax liability.
In the last year Lili has seen over 1500% revenue growth, and has reached 200,000 customers—most of them women, and most of them workers in the United States’ intersecting freelance and gig economies.
Today the company already provides users with a single account that can be used both for personal and business expenses. Down the line it will also be expanding into invoicing, payment management and credit (e.g. loans or cash advances) for its customers.
With Covid erasing job openings, 2020 saw an uptick in freelancers and gig grabbers. Having launched in January 2020, Lili is still pretty young. But its growth is there — it recently passed 200,000 users. Last week, it raised $55 million in a Series B funding round.
With three years as CEO of Israeli challenger bank Pepper under her belt, Bar David was looking for a new challenge and moved to the U.S. in 2018. She launched Lili in 2019 as a one-stop-shop for freelancers. The banking app now claims more than 100,000 users.
It’s only been a few months since Lili announced its $10 million seed round, and it’s already raised more funding — namely, a $15 million Series A. “Our current investors were so tremendously impressed by the product-market fit and the growth” that they were willing to fund almost all of the new round, said CEO Lilac Bar David.
Lili, a New York-based banking app for freelancers, raised $15 million. Group 11 led, and was joined by from Foundation Capital, AltaIR Capital, Primary Venture Partners, Torch Capital, and Zeev Ventures.
In the recent wave of neobanks, Lilac Bar David is a rare female founder. Born in Israel, she had her first hit back in 2015 with a mobile banking system for millennials called Pepper, which she grew to a team of 250 with her VP of R&D, Liran Zelkha. “Liran and I wanted to create a bigger impact. So we looked for a segment that is really underserved by the banking industry and has specific pain points that we can address.” The result is Lili, their U.S. neobank for freelancers and gig workers.
As part of helping the unique challenges that freelancers face, the company offers both a bank account and a broader suite of financial tracking tools. Lilac Bar David, Founder and CEO of Lili, explains how her company is catering in ways other mobile banking companies are not.
The account comes with a Visa business debit card and is unencumbered by account fees, overdraft fees, foreign transaction fees or minimum balance requirements.The startup estimates that it can save freelancers up to 60 hours and $1,700 per year.
Lili aims to focus on freelancers specifically with its financial services that include account and tax services. In a recent interview with PYMNTS, CEO Lilac Bar David explained that the unique financial challenges of freelancers warrant a service provider specific to this customer base.
There are nearly 60 million freelancers in the U.S., making up 35% of the American workforce. Lili is the only company that combines banking services with real-time expense tracking, tax tools and financial insights, so freelancers can stay in control of their finances
Group 11 led the round, which included contributions from Foundation Capital, AltaIR Capital, Primary Venture Partners and Torch Capital.
“No traditional banking solutions are really designed to solve the problems faced by freelancers — whether they’re designers, programmers, fitness instructors, chefs or beauty professionals. She described Lili as the first “all-in-one” solution, offering both a bank account and a broader suite of financial tracking tools”.