If your service-based business still collects paper checks and customers are known only by their first name, finlay He has an app for you.
After building mobile technology for fintech and payment companies for the past 20 years, Finli CEO Lori Chau started the #1 mobile payment management company nearly 3 years ago when she noticed she had been in technology all day but still You use a checkbook in order to administer home services, such as landscaping and after-school programs.
The San Marino, California-based company focuses on small businesses, which according to the US Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, 9.9% of US companies are small businesses.
These are companies that often use five or more services, such as QuickBooks, to manage customer invoices and payments. Shaw believes that many business owners end up abandoning these services because they are complex, expensive, and rely heavily on owners who know a lot of information about their customers, as well as their first name and mobile phone number.
“You don’t have to put yourself in a QuickBooks box or a box-box; you can continue to work your way, on your own terms and we’ll meet you wherever you are,” Shaw told TechCrunch. “Finli stands for ‘financial leverage’, so financially lifting communities is part of our DNA, and we can do that with one small business at a time.”
The Finli platform is developed so that owners can submit invoices, search for customer information, and check payment status between gigs. Users can create an account and send their first invoice via email, SMS or any other messaging app within minutes. There is also a CRM feature so they can digitize their customer base if they want.
Shaw said that some competitors take a deduction for incoming payments, so it was important to her that there were no transaction fees on bank-to-bank trade transfers. Owners can also continue to receive cash and check payments, which are automatically cleared within the app, and manage collections through automated emails and text messages.
Currently, Finli has a free form for sending invoices and receiving payments. There’s also a Pro package with a flat monthly fee, starting at $25 per month, that gives access to advanced tools, like a recurring payment setup and ACH direct debit, all the tools Shao says they’d otherwise need a bank to provide.
The company, which has 11 employees, finished 2021 with 500 trading accounts on the platform, and after 6 months, it had grown to 3000, or about 500%.
Shao closed $6 million in seed funding to help grow the team and further develop banking features. The investment was led by the Urban Innovation Fund and included Motley Fool Ventures, M13, Alumni Ventures and all existing investors, including Mac Venture Capital, Slauson and Co. and Core Innovation Capital, Techstars, and Muse Capital. This gives Finli a total of $9.5 million in funding.
She added, “I started the company with me and my laptop and realized that I needed to surround myself with talented individuals who could help me improve and take Finli to the next level.” “We are able to do a lot with very few resources, and in the end, with that capital, we are able to do a lot. There are a lot of ideas that we have, there are a lot of opportunities that we want to pursue but we were like many other early stage startups , only limited in resources, which has had a limited acceleration in our growth.”
Finli is not alone in helping business owners manage their operations digitally. Earlier this year, Zuper, a provider of productivity tools for field service management and customer engagement, raised $13 million. Prior to that, Fuzey raised $4.5 million in seed funding for its “digital one-stop shop” for small businesses and independent contractors, while Puls Technologies raised $15 million for its mobile app that connects merchants with on-demand home repair services.