This Seattle fintech startup just raised $11M on Zoom and shifted to a fully distributed workforce – GeekWire

This Seattle fintech startup just raised $11M on Zoom and shifted to a fully distributed workforce – GeekWire

This Seattle fintech startup just raised $11M on Zoom and shifted to a fully distributed workforce – GeekWire

The Possible Finance team, before social distancing. (Possible Finance Photo)

Possible Finance was growing fast and ready to raise more venture capital. Then COVID-19 hit.

“It immediately made fundraising much more difficult than anticipated,” said Tony Huang, CEO and co-founder of the 3-year-old startup that runs a high-tech small loan service.

But the company ended up connecting — over Zoom calls, no less — with New York-based Union Square Ventures, which eventually led a $11 million round for Possible. It was the first deal the well-known firm completed over video conferencing.

Possible announced the new funding Tuesday, along with $80 million in debt financing from Park Cities Advisors to help supercharge its business.

Founded in 2017, Possible offers loans of up to $500 and is similar to payday lenders, but with some differences. Borrowers have more time to pay back the money in installments and the repayments are reported to the credit agencies, helping people rebuild their credit. Traditional payday loans are structured differently, so those payments don’t count for credit scores, which can trap consumers in a costly cycle of borrowing.

Using the Possible Finance app, people can apply for loans without a credit check and receive funds the same day. Possible Finance links to a customer’s bank account and uses machine learning to analyze financial transaction data to make credit risk decisions rather than relying on FICO credit scores.

The co-founders of Possible Finance, from left to right: Prasad Mahendra, vice president of engineering; Tyler Conant, chief technology officer; and Tony Huang, CEO. (Possible Photo)

Huang said the pandemic has affected customers and the business in unpredictable ways. It implemented a hardship program for customers who needed more help, and let people delay payments without additional costs or blemishes on their credit reports.

“Hardworking Americans need financial support more than ever before, and we’re determined to provide fair and affordable credit to as many people as we can,” Huang said.

Possible not only embraced remote fundraising, but it is going all in on remote work, too. It had about 30 employees all based in Seattle before the pandemic. Now it has more than 60 workers spread worldwide.

“We have fully transitioned to distributed work, converted our office to a co-working space, and have started to recruit talent from all across the globe,” Huang noted.

Huang and his co-founders — Prasad Mahendra and Tyler Conant — previously worked together at Axon, the leading manufacturer of non-lethal Taser stun guns, policing software, and supplies including in-car and policy body cameras.

Existing investors Canvas Ventures, Unlock Venture Partners, Columbia Pacific Advisors, Union Bay Partners, Tom Williams, and FJ Labs also participated in the funding round. Total equity funding to date is $25 million.

Possible previously landed a $30 million credit facility from Park Cities Advisors in April 2019.

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