Willa, the Sweden and U.S.-based fintech that wants to help freelancers request payment and get paid immediately for a fee, has raised $3 million in funding. The company’s founders are former early members of Spotify’s growth team and also created influencer marketing platform Relatable.
Leading the seed round is EQT Ventures. Also participating is ex-Atomico partner Mattias Ljungman’s Moonfire Ventures, Nordic Makers, Michael Hansen and Johan Lorenzen. Willa says the injection of cash will enable it to launch “Willa Pay,” an app that promises to remove the paperwork required when billing corporations for freelance work and comes with a payment process that claims to make it easier to collect payments.
One you’ve completed a job, you use the Willa Pay app to enter the details of the work, how much you are supposed to get paid, and who you did the job for. Willa Pay then contacts the corporation and issues the paperwork.
If you wish to get paid earlier than a corporation’s standard terms, which is often anything from 30-90 days, for a small fee Willa will pay you directly. The idea is that freelancers gain more predictable income, and can pay their bills on time and protect their credit score.
“The payment process between freelancers and corporations is completely broken,” says co-founder and CEO Kristofer Sommestad. “It’s built for the old world, by people of the old world. Both freelancers and corporations are suffering a lot from this. At least half of freelancers experience problems getting paid, while a third of payments are late. The result? Credit scores decline”.
Sommestad says Willa Pay solves this problem by “re-engineering” the payment process. “We’re creating it from scratch with the new freelance economy in mind. And we’re starting with freelancers’ biggest problem: getting paid, on time, every time. As a freelancer, using the Willa Pay app is a faster, simpler and better way of requesting payment for your work”.
To help with Willa Pay’s launch, Sommestad says the product’s first 10,000 users will be influencers, averaging a 100,000-plus following. “They are brilliant creators, the world’s best product marketeers and suffering as much as anyone from the payment problems,” he tells me. “This is, by the way, a brilliant distribution move from the Spotify growth playbook”.
Meanwhile, on the question of competitors, the Willa CEO says financial services are typically built by massive companies like PayPal and Intuit, along with many startups “building shiny tools or launching yet-another challenger bank”.
“But none of them are solving the core problem for freelancers… That’s what we do at Willa. We’re focusing on solving the biggest problem, for the people that suffer the most”.