Oxygen Secures $2.3 Million Investment to Bring Digital Banking Services to the Gig Economy
SAN FRANCISCO – January 29, 2018 – Oxygen, a new digital banking service offering free banking services and flat-fee, zero-interest credit lines to freelancers, today announced it has raised $2.3 million in funding which will be used to expand the team and fuel business growth. Oxygen tracks freelancers’ bills, projects their income and offers instant credit – a unique service combination that no other bank or payday lender offers. Oxygen’s service is accessible through its mobile banking app which is already available in both iOS and Android versions.
Y Combinator-backed Oxygen has also received funding from Digital Horizon Capital; Cynthia Chen, investor, advisor, executive and board member for several U.S.-based fintechs and now co-founder and Chief Risk Officer at Figure; ZMT Capital (China); Locus Ventures; Endure Capital; PioneerFund; Magic City; Light Bridge; Strawberry Creek; Base Ventures; The House Fund and Sam Yam, co-founder of Patreon.
“While there are various banking and lending services available to small businesses and individuals with more traditional employment, there is a void when it comes to serving the needs of the rapidly growing base of U.S. freelancers,” says Hussein Ahmed, Founder and CEO, Oxygen. “Even the most affluent freelancers are often denied lending services due to their variable incomes. Oxygen is the only digital banking service offering modern banking services with no fees combined with fair credit line offerings, based on an intelligent, AI-driven analysis of individual freelancers’ income flows.”
“Oxygen fills a truly unique and growing market need, and this is validated by the deep bench of financial services experts that have made investments in the company,” says Cynthia Chen, investor. “As the freelance economy grows in the U.S., we believe Oxygen will emerge as the dominant player to help make their financial lives more stable and manageable, and also the one with the data to back underwriting for this segment.”
Freelancers and the gig economy in general are growing massively. According to Intuit and Emergent research, freelancers currently comprise 34 percent of the U.S. workforce and this figure is expected to grow to 43 percent by 2020. The World Economic Forum predictsthat by 2027, the majority of the U.S. workforce will be freelancers. Volatile cash flows have been a challenge for this group, which to date has often relied on high-interest payday lenders. This group has also traditionally been locked out of established banks’ and alternative lending platforms’ underwriting processes.
Oxygen has the power to change all of this. Users simply purchase Oxygen Premier and pay a monthly flat fee to access a full range of free banking perks and a flat-fee, zero-interest line of credit. For payday advances, Oxygen relies on its in-house AI models to provide a manageable payback plan, including both periodic cash paybacks or tangible, feasible payback based on hours worked. These same AI models are used to underwrite loans, which freelancers can apply for and receive without having to visit a bank or complete paperwork, and no servicing fees or interest accrual.
Oxygen already has significant traction, with more than 13,000 bank accounts opened over the last several months; a single digit default rate; a 19 percent return on capital and a $10 million line of credit.
Oxygen is a digital bank that caters to the freelancers and self-employed of the gig economy. That new shift of workers makes more than $1.4 trillion in 1099 income annually, but has been locked out of the lending services because of their volatile income and a lack of permanent employment. Oxygen offers free checking accounts, debit cards and fair credit lines to make banking easier in the age of gig economy. In order to do that Oxygen has developed unique AI models that track bills, project income and offer instant credit when needed. For more information please visit https://getoxygen.com