Finli puts service-based business payment management in the palm of your hand – TechCrunch

If your service-based business still collects paper checks and knows customers by name only, Finli has an app for you.

After building mobile technology for fintech companies and payment companies for the past 20 years, Laurie Shao, CEO of Finli, started the first mobile payment management company nearly 3 years ago when he noticed that he was around technology all day, but still also uses a checkbook to manage household services such as landscaping and after-school programs.

Laurie Shao, CEO of Finli Image Credits: Finley

The San Marino, Calif.-based company is focused on micro-businesses, which according to the US Small Business Administration’s 9.9% of US businesses are small businesses.

These are businesses that often use five or more services, such as QuickBooks, to manage their customers’ invoicing and payments. Shao believes that many business owners end up abandoning these services because they are complicated, expensive and heavily reliant on owners knowing a lot about their customers beyond a name and a mobile phone number.

“You don’t have to put yourself in a QuickBooks box or a square box; you can continue to work in your own way, on your own terms, and we will meet you where you are,” Shao told TechCrunch. “Finli means ‘financial uplift’, so it’s in our DNA to financially uplift communities, and we can do that one small micro-business at a time.”

Finli’s platform is designed for owners to send invoices, look up customer information and check payment status between gigs. Users can create an account and send their first invoice via email, SMS or other messaging app within minutes. It also has a customer relationship management feature, so they can digitize their customer base if they want to.

Shao said some competitors take a cut of incoming payments, so it’s important to her to have zero merchant transaction fees for bank-to-bank business transfers. Owners can also continue to accept cash and check payments that are automatically reconciled within the app, and manage collections through automated emails and text messages.

Finli currently has a freemium model for sending invoices and receiving payments. There’s also a Pro package with flat monthly fees starting at $25 a month that gives access to advanced tools like recurring payment setup and ACH direct debit, all tools that Shao says would otherwise require a bank to provide .

The company, which has 11 employees, ended 2021 with 500 business accounts on the platform, and 6 months later it grew to 3,000, or about 500%.

Shao closed $6 million in seed funding to help grow the team and continue to develop business banking features. The investment was led by Urban Innovation Fund and included Motley Fool Ventures, M13, Alumni Ventures and all existing investors including Mac Venture Capital, Slauson and Co., Core Innovation Capital, Techstars and Muse Capital. This gives Finli a total of $9.5 million in funding.

“I started the company with just me and my laptop and realized that I needed to surround myself with talented people who could help me improve and take Finli to the next level,” she added. “We can do so much with very little, and finally, with this capital, we can do so much more. There are a lot of ideas that we have, there are a lot of opportunities that we want to pursue, but we were just like so many other early-stage startups, just limited in resources that had limited acceleration of our growth.”

Finli is not the only one helping business owners manage their processes digitally. Earlier this year, Zuper, a provider of productivity tools for field service management and customer engagement, raised $13 million. Fuzey previously raised $4.5 million in seed funding for its “digital one-stop shop” for small businesses and independent contractors, while Puls Technologies raised $15 million for its mobile app connecting tradespeople with on-demand home improvement services.

Leave a Comment