Banking Platform Built For Freelancers Joust Labs Secures $2.6 Million

By Noah Long ● Aug 15, 2019
  • Joust Labs — a banking platform built for freelancers and entrepreneurs — announced it raised $2.6 million

Joust Labs recently announced that it closed a seed round of funding for its financial services platform designed for freelancers and entrepreneurs, many of whom face challenges managing their finances due to the irregularity of working with multiple clients or partners. And Joust is known for helping its users handle invoices and payments and provides protection against late or missed payments.

This round of funding was led by PTB Ventures and also included Accion Venture Lab (the seed-stage investment initiative of global nonprofit Accion), Financial Venture Studio, and Techstars. And the funding round will support Joust as it expands its platform to serve the growing freelance workforce segment.

“We are so excited to partner with PTB Ventures, Accion Venture Lab, Financial Venture Studio, and Techstars. At Joust, we understand the growing market of self-employed workers, freelancers, and small businesses, and their need for an all-in-one banking solution—especially one that gives them the same benefits enjoyed by major corporations. Our platform not only saves time, but also reduces uncertainty and mitigates the risk of late and non-payment,” said Joust founder and CEO Lamine Zarrad.

Joust provides freelancers, sole proprietors, and small and mid-sized businesses in the US with tailored financial services to manage and smooth their unconventional cash flows. And it has developed an invoice guarantee product called PayArmour — which allows users to access a cash advance against unpaid invoices. Joust bundles PayArmour with a suite of financial services, including a bank account and payments processing, offered through one mobile platform. This platform allows workers to get paid for their work faster, protecting their assets and allowing them to seize new opportunities.

“Freelancers require credit and banking products that mirror the user experience of the consumer market but the product sophistication of the small business market,” added David Fields, CFA — founder and managing partner of PTB Ventures. “Existing financial market infrastructure just isn’t built to provide this bundle. Through the use of contextual data and proprietary risk algorithms, Joust reduces the cost, complexity, and risk of becoming a solopreneur.”

According to Freelancers Union, there are around 57 million freelancers in the U.S. and more than half of America’s workforce is expected to engage in freelance work in some capacity by 2027. Despite freelancers’ growing importance, the financial sector has yet to provide the financial services that meet their unique needs. And 63% of freelancers surveyed by Freelancers Union last year reported anxiety over managing their financials, taxes, and insurance.

“Freelancers and entrepreneurs are often forced to manage their finances at the mercy of irregular cash flows and late or inconsistent payments. We’re pleased to be part of Joust’s innovative solution targeting an underserved and increasingly important segment of the U.S. economy.” Vikas Raj, managing director of Accion Venture Lab, added, “As the gig economy grows, we believe Joust, with its sole focus on this market and its expandable, one-stop shop offering, is uniquely positioned to serve this segment effectively,” added Accion CEO Michael Schlein.

Financial Venture Studio — an early Joust investor — built on its position in this round. 

“Joust has accomplished a rare feat in fintech: they’ve brought a truly differentiated product to market,” noted Ryan Falvey — managing partner at Financial Venture Studio. “PayArmour has proven it can smooth income and expenses for small businesses, improving the financial health of an important segment in our economy. We’re proud to be involved.”

Joust’s business banking app essentially combines an FDIC-insured bank account with a merchant account to accept all kinds of payments. 

“Lamine and the Joust team built a first-of-its-kind banking solution that’s already transforming business banking. His dynamic team excelled during their time in our Techstars Boulder Accelerator program. We’re very excited to be a part of Joust’s growth,” noted Techstars Managing Director Natty Zola.