In a bid to simplify the arduous process of launching credit products while navigating complex regulatory landscapes, Jessica Zhang and Alex Hegevall Clarke, former employees at fintech lending platform Stilt, have embarked on a groundbreaking venture with their startup, Pier. The duo, inspired by the challenges faced by businesses in swiftly and compliantly rolling out credit offerings, describes Pier as the ‘Stripe for credit,’ providing an innovative solution for companies to streamline the automation of their credit products.
Zhang emphasized the prevailing struggles for businesses, irrespective of their nature – be it a venture-backed startup or a traditional lender – to overcome the hurdles of launching products quickly and in accordance with stringent regulations. Pier aims to address this by enabling developers to integrate Pier’s APIs with just a few lines of code, offering significant time and cost savings amounting to months of labor and millions of dollars.
The distinctive feature of Pier lies in its holistic approach to managing the entire credit lifecycle, encompassing origination, underwriting, compliance, and servicing. Unlike alternatives in the market that target specific components of the credit process, such as underwriting or Know Your Customer (KYC), Pier provides a comprehensive and ongoing solution that evolves dynamically throughout each loan’s lifecycle.
Launched in 2023, Pier operates on a Software as a Service (SaaS) model, charging a monthly fee comprising a minimum along with a usage fee determined by loan volume, use case, and the number of inquiries. This startup financial platform caters to various use cases, including credit builders, buy now, pay later for weddings and clean energy, salary advance loans, merchant advance, and portfolio lines of credit.
While Zhang remained tight-lipped about the specific user numbers and revenue growth, she disclosed that the company has a substantial runway ahead. Recently securing $2.4 million in seed funding, Pier attracted investment from prominent entities such as Y Combinator, Liquid 2 Ventures, ACME, Horizon Ventures, and a group of notable angel investors, including Brian Neer of Morgan Stanley, Seth Weinstein (former CEO of Morgan Stanley Fund Services), and YC partner Divya Bhat.
With the infusion of new capital, Pier plans to focus on product development and assembling a robust team, underscoring Pier’s commitment to reshaping the landscape of credit product launches in the tech-driven financial ecosystem.