Earned wage access (EWA) solution for companies Refyne on Wednesday announced the closing of its $16 million Series A from new investors: partners of DST Global and RTP Global. Existing investors — including QED Investors and Jigsaw VC, which led December’s $4.1 million Seed round — and XYZ Capital, also joined the round.
The funding will be deployed to expand the technology team and scale growth initiatives.
“We are delighted to be supported by some amazing investor partners in our journey. While we are aware of the responsibilities on our shoulders, having amazing stakeholders onboard helps us move faster and stronger. Times like COVID have shown that Refyne’s offerings and culture DNA share the umbilical cord of resilience. We believe we have found a great product-market fit, and, more importantly, a great team that believes in the mission of creating a positive impact on the lives of millions of people,” said Chitresh Sharma, chief executive officer, and co-founder, Refyne.
Refyne partners with employers to provide a plug and play software that enables employees to access their real-time earned salary. Employees can withdraw this amount using Refyne’s app at any point before their payday. The financial wellness solution is free for organizations and integrates seamlessly with any existing HRMS and ERP service, the platform shared.
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“The need for financial inclusion is more important today than ever before,” shared Nigel Morris, managing partner and co-founder, QED Investors. “As the first company in India to provide earned wage access, Refyne can revolutionize the way millions of workers manage their money. By providing a real, affordable alternative to payday loans, Refyne will not only improve a person’s financial health, but it will add control for the consumer and dramatically reduce the stress on those who worry about meeting their financial obligations.”
Refyne is a mobile-first platform for employees of partner companies to manage their finances and discover innovative ways to track, budget, spend and save their money. It is an easy and affordable alternative to exploitative short-term credit facilities that helps users cover mid-month expenses without risking debt cycles. Refyne aims to empower people with financial flexibility, the importance of which has been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The earned salary gets credited to the bank account in less than 30 seconds.
“This round represents our first investment in India, and we couldn’t be more excited to partner with a world-class team that is solving important societal and financial problems on a daily basis. We’ve seen the success of earned wage access companies across the globe, and I have no doubt that Refyne will have an immediate and significant impact”, Morris added.
Companies that have deployed income streaming have recorded an uptick in staff loyalty, retention, and productivity due to the visibility employees gain into work hours and the corresponding earned income.
Financial stress has been identified as a critical contributor to employee absenteeism, attrition, and productivity loss. Reports suggest 52 per cent of Indian employees think they are less effective at work owing to the pressure caused by their financial problems. When faced with a mid-month liquidity crunch, the apparent options for employees to access quick cash include payday loans or micro-credit schemes. However, these instruments often carry predatory pricing, which further exacerbates employees’ debt obligations and mental wellness.
“Refyne is a powerful, pertinent financial solution created for the emerging middle class in the country. With Refyne, all employers can now empathetically and substantially stand by their teams in the hours of greatest need. Chitresh and Apoorv bring amazing passion, evident in their rapid progression from building the solution to being poised for exponential scale. I am excited to partner with them on this amazing endeavor,” added Sandeep Patil, partner, QED Investors.
Over a short period of five months, Refyne has partnered with almost 100 companies with over 300,000 employees in India and plans to cover more than 1 million workers this financial year. Some of the prominent brands Refyne has partnered with CARS24, Rebel Foods, Cafe Coffee Day, Hira Group, Chai Point, Wow! Momos, among several others.