Building the safety net while the world is in free-fall
When the pandemic shut the country down last March, many of our customers’ income evaporated. Photographers, hairstylists, event planners, freelance writers, and essential workers who built their careers on top of a shrinking safety net were instantly dropped from dizzying heights.
Years of sacrifice, of accepting trade-offs for freedom and flexibility, of fighting for autonomy, reached an apex for independent workers. At the same time, millions of front-line employees were simultaneously let go from their jobs as owners and managers stared down unprecedented uncertainty.
At Catch, our average customer’s income in April 2020 dropped by nearly 45%. Customers withdrew money they had been saving for the future, sending us notes of apology at a time when they were the ones owed all of the understanding in the world.
Our customers represent the very best about this country. They are independent, scrappy, hard-working, and determined. They hold themselves to high standards. They aren’t strangers to constraints. They make the impossible possible.
Our team had one job in the last year: to help our customers stabilize and strengthen their wealth as they rebuilt their income and careers. As we announce our Series A, we need to acknowledge our success is a reflection of the grit and accomplishments of our nation’s creators, independents, and essential workers.
To our customers: thank you. We are building for you.
Raising a Series A as the world turned upside down
The last year accelerated a century of workforce trends: a great shift of risk from the government and employers to individual families, higher income volatility and variability, skyrocketing healthcare costs (especially out-of-pocket costs), and the unbundling of employment in an economy driven by individual creators and on-demand income.
Still, the rate of change in 2020 made the need for new solutions — especially for independent income management and benefits — even more pressing. Providing health insurance and retirement benefits through a single employer is paternalistic and simply insufficient in a world that no longer reflects the “company man” economy of 50 years ago.
Since our Seed round in 2019, Catch has launched new infrastructure designed for a modern workforce with multiple, flexible income sources:
- Automated withholding and tax payments
- Income tagging and tracking across thousands of payment sources
- Retirement investment and roboadvisor
- End-to-end health and dental insurance enrollment from hundreds of carriers
- Fully applied tax credits to lower health insurance costs by thousands
More than just a savings app or deductions calculator, Catch is the only place to truly manage portable benefits that work across job type and income—automatically.
Venture dollars have poured in to enable new income generating opportunities for creators and independent contractors. Millions of people in the last year tried monetizing their skills, experience, or assets in new ways. And our Series A is a critical answer to support this explosion of opportunity.
Crosslink Capital sees the future the way we do. One where individuals can decide how they want to work. One where the need for benefits exists outside of the restraints of a W2 employment agreement. One where financial products and services are designed with a deep understanding of on-demand pay and irregular earnings. We’re thrilled to bring Gabby Contro on to our Board to continue to build towards a free and flexible future workforce. We’re also grateful to existing investors Khosla Ventures, Kindred Ventures, Nyca Partners, and Urban Innovation Fund for their participation in the $12M round.
Pushing the limits in a world of opportunity
We were the first to build the infrastructure and earn the regulatory approval to create a framework for independent benefits. Catch is the only portable benefits platform that provides a flexible backbone with in-house capabilities across banking, investment, and insurance. And now, it’s time to unleash growth.
Today: New Partners and Distribution
New business creation has exploded in the wake of the pandemic. Payroll and creator platforms are eager to differentiate by better serving a new class of independents. Today, Catch is announcing a first-of-its kind partnership program to help these companies.
For the first time ever, marketplaces and platforms will have the ability to directly deliver a full suite of portable benefits from a single partner. Building with Catch will enable partners to provide custom experiences and discounts towards income tracking and smoothing, retirement investment management, and ACA-compliant health insurance. More than 2 million independents already benefit from access to Catch through platforms where they earn income.
Today: New Products and Capabilities
We’re launching today a completely redesigned onboarding, better income tracking, and coverage tab with a dedicated home for insurance info and the fastest, easiest plan renewal. Catch is also building new products based on what we’ve learned from our customers. We’ll be launching improved and expanded healthcare enrollment, smoother partner integration, and automated tax payments later this year.
In 2022, you can expect further advancements and new product lines including a public API, custom disability insurance, and automated health savings accounts.
We’re also working closely with partners and lawmakers to pilot and test various models of portable benefits to fulfill our mission of making a flexible safety net that serves the needs of the future workforce. To explore pilot opportunities or provide comments on regulatory issues, please reach out to our press contact.
Catch will be opening its new headquarters in New York this summer. We’re hiring across engineering, design, product, partnerships, and customer experience teams. If you’re ambitious, creative, and unsatisfied with the status quo chaining benefits to employment, join us.