Wage secures $5m in funding round led by Google
The San Francisco-based fintech startup , has raised $5m in a funding round led by Google’s AI venture fund, Gradient Ventures.
Follow-on investment came from 8VC, Pear Ventures, Bloomberg Beta, CoFound Partners, and executives from SoFi, Public, Zillow, and Affirm.
The infrastructure software solutions provider that lets users securely and easily share their payroll data with third parties without the need for document uploads or logins, reduces employers HR workloads. Wage was founded in 2018 and is part of a rising trend in the fintech space.
Market competitors also offering income and employment verification solutions include Plaid, Pinwheel and Argyle, with adoption of the services having risen significantly over the past 12 months.
Wage’s industry-leading Application Programming Interface (API) infrastructure reportedly delivers direct-source payroll data instantly, with a credential-less process as lightweight as a credit check. By leveraging direct data integrations with leading payroll partners, the company enables consumers to quickly and securely share their data with lenders, landlords, hiring managers, and countless other fintech apps.
Since its launch, Wage has been quietly building its network of payroll partners. Co-founders Ben Prawdzik and Shaan Patel leveraged their experiences at companies including Gusto, Goldman Sachs, Box, and Bain Capital, designing the platform to meet the demands of the rapidly evolving fintech space.
According to reports, Wage currently works with payroll companies covering more than 30 million employees who work at firms such as Amazon, Delta Airlines, Best Buy, Starbucks, Dell, Hyatt Hotels, and tens of thousands of others.
Customers using Wage’s API can reliably access payroll data at ultra-low latencies, and massive scale because the company’s integrations with leading payroll and HR systems are direct connections. This is in contrast to other startups in the payroll data market, who often access data by asking consumers to provide their payroll account username and password before deploying bots to log into the consumer’s account via the public internet - a process known as “web scraping.”
A scraping-based approach has several drawbacks compared to Wage’s direct-access model: consumers often can’t remember their payroll login information, and bots often fail when payroll systems deploy anti-scraping tools or change their websites.
Ben Prawdzik, CEO and co-founder of Wage, explains, “Historically, payroll data access has been a burdensome process for financial services providers, consumers, and employers. Our solution is comparable to a credit check. We completely remove the friction point of relying on consumers or their employers to act, whether uploading a document, entering data, taking a phone call, or going through a login flow."
Prawdzik said that Wage is designed with security and transparency at its core. The company uses enterprise-grade encryption, is Fair Credit Reporting Act compliant, and SOC 2 Type 2 certified. Wage doesn’t bulk-download payroll data, but instead routes it on a one-time basis from payroll systems to the specific third party a consumer has authorized. By comparison, legacy solutions from credit bureaus often warehouse vast quantities of consumer data under failure-prone security protocols and opaque consent practices.
Zachary Bratun-Glennon, a partner at Gradient Ventures said, “A great deal of credit decisioning is a black box that penalizes people with little-to-no credit history and doesn’t capture one’s full potential. Wage provides accurate and up-to-date payroll data seamlessly and securely - creating a more equitable and inclusive financial ecosystem, and empowering consumers, financial services, employers and others with efficiency and control over the use and access of their data.”
He added, “Wage has seen impressive growth since its inception, and we look forward to supporting its momentum.”