Fintech startup Petal has raised $34 million in a round of funding from investment bank Jefferies and Silicon Valley Bank, as the New York-based startup officially launches its alternative credit card to the public.
By way of a quick recap, Petal offers a credit card that doesn’t rely on traditional credit scores to qualify applicants — instead, it uses a process called “cashflow underwriting” and meshes big data with machine learning to “analyze an individual’s full digital financial record,” according to the company. This may be particularly useful for younger consumers who have yet to build sufficient credit rating.
Founded in 2015, Petal launched its “no-fee” credit card as part of a pilot program last September, at which point it debuted a mobile app that lets users track their spending, set up automated payments and reminders, and more. To make the numbers easier to parse, Petal elects not to highlight interest rates, instead showing how much a user would like to repay in a given month, with the corresponding repayments displayed in dollars.
Petal isn’t the only startup looking to reimagine the humble credit facility. Earlier this year, a Visa- and MasterCard-backed company called Dynamics unveiled the Wallet Card, a credit card that features a mini display and cellular connection. Elsewhere, Tally offers an automated app that helps users pay off credit card debt, and a few weeks back it arrived on Android, a year after launching on iOS. Personal finance bot Digit also launched an automated service designed to reduce credit card debt.
Petal had previously raised $16.6 million — the bulk of which came via a $13 million investment led by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures earlier this year. With another $34 million in the bank, the startup is well financed to support its product now that it’s out in the wild.
“Tens of millions of Americans have no credit score at all, and millions more have short credit histories that may not tell their entire financial stories,” noted Petal cofounder and CEO Jason Gross. “That’s a problem, since building credit is a necessity for many of life’s most important milestones, like buying your first car, starting a small business, or purchasing a home.”
Gross said more than 100,000 people were already on its waiting list to join Petal. “This latest investment will go toward meeting that strong demand,” he added.