GajiGesa,a fintech company that offers Earned Wage Access and other services for workers in Indonesia, has raised $2.5 million in seed funding. The round was co-led by Defy.vc and Quest Ventures. Other members included GK Plug and Play, Next Billion Ventures, Alto Partners Multi-Family Office, Kanmo Group and strategic angel investors.
The company was created last year by husband-and-wife team Vidit Agrawal and Martyna Malinowska. Agrawal was Uber’s first employee in Asia and has also operated in leadership positions at Carro and Stripe. Malinowska led product development at Standard Chartered’s SC Ventures and alternative credit-scoring platform LenddoEFL.
About 66% of Indonesia’s 260 million population is “unbanked,” which means they don’t have a bank account and have inadequate access to financial services like loans. Agrawal and Malinowska decided to launch GajiGesa in Indonesia because Malinowska worked with many unbanked workers while at LenddoEFL. While at Uber, Agrawal also worked with drivers across Southeast Asia whose average earnings were $250 USD a month (excluding Singapore), and he said the top issue they face was harassment by money lenders.
“These hardworking Indonesians had no fair or formal sources for easy access to capital. Further, the most common reason for borrowing was short-term liquidity issues,” Agrawal told TechCrunch. “But workers were forced to borrow either long-term, high-ticket-size loans or short-term loans with exorbitantly high-interest rates.”
Having immediate access to earned wages, instead of pausing for a semi-monthly or monthly paycheck, can help lighten financial stress and make it easier for workers to cope with their income and handle emergencies. Companies that have started immediate payment services for workers in other countries include Square, London-based startup Wagestream and Gusto.