Unlocking the Financial System for Gig Workers with Tilak Joshi of Lean | Soar Payments LLC
Tilak Joshi of Lean

Unlocking the Financial System for Gig Workers with Tilak Joshi of Lean

The gig economy is comprised of some of the most hard-working individuals around and is expanding every day. In this episode, we sat down with Tilak Joshi Co-founder and CEO at Lean to discuss the process and power of unlocking the financial system for gig workers through the lens of risk.

Payments & Fintech Insights In This Episode

  • The impact of short-term thinking for folks working in the gig economy.
  • The opportunities to maximize tax savings for gig workers.
  • How income stabilization shifts the risk model.
  • Ways to increase access to sophisticated financial products over time.
  • And so much more!

Episode Transcript

Tilak: Failure is a key input to success. And you fail, you learn, you move forward. Making those mistakes is a very honorable, good, right thing to do. It’s just, where you make those mistakes matters. There are certain mistakes that can kill your company. So, with your product, fail fast, test things, take user feedback. When it comes to security, privacy, trust, that’s not the place to mess around and fail fast.

Heather: Welcome to “PayPod,” the payments industry podcast. Each week, we’ll bring you in-depth conversations with leaders who are shaping the payments world, from payment processing to risk management, and from new technology to entirely new payment types. If you wanna know what’s happening in payments, you’re in the right place.

Hi, everyone. Welcome to “PayPod.” I’m your host, Heather Bodie. And today, we’re gonna be talking about a topic very close to my heart, and one we’ve touched on in the past on a couple of different occasions, the gig economy. Joining me today is Tilak Joshi, co-founder and CEO at Lean, a fintech platform designed for the independent workforce. Tilak, welcome to the show.

Tilak: Thank you for having me, Heather. It’s a pleasure.

Heather: Absolutely. So, I love to start off all of our episodes in a similar way, because, I don’t know, it feels good to know who it is that we’re listening to. So, tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into the industry, and what led you to this point?

Tilak: Getting into the industry is actually interesting because it was never by design. I just kind of followed my interests between technology and finance. So, all the way back in college, I studied computer science. There was a part of me that still wasn’t satisfied, so I also added finance as a major. So, just happened to be before all the fintech existed in the early 2000s, that I decided to take on both of them together. I never intended to use both at the same time. And I started my career engineering. Very quickly wanted to peek over the other side. Where are all the requirements coming from? Why are we building what we’re building? And that led me into product. And while I was doing product, I was at NASA, and I was thinking, like, “Hey, this whole finance side, I’m really not really doing much about it.”

So, it led me to a few places. I went to Citigroup, which was interesting because I was there during the financial crisis. I was at PayPal during a big transition there. And then, ultimately, went to American Express from PayPal, which was a very different experience, and then landed at Intuit, running the [inaudible 00:02:40] business, including Mint and all the assets associated with that. And then finally here. So, it’s an interesting journey. But what really happened is, around the time that I was at American Express, I started thinking through my roots, my background. I was having my first kid. And there was something that wasn’t really satisfying the depth or meaning aspect of my professional career. I felt like I had some great accomplishments under my belt, and financially was in a good place, but just didn’t feel like what I was doing added enough value to society. And it’s just specific to me, right?

American Express is doing a lot of great things, so it’s not about the company. But specific to me, it just didn’t resonate. It wasn’t congruent with my upbringing. I grew up in a single-mother household, single-parent household, and she was working a few jobs, going to school, and just seeing that hustle, I wanted to get a little bit closer to it, and see if I could use the skills that I had developed through my career, and the different experiences that I had, to apply them to individuals that were going through similar struggles.

And the first place that I felt like I could do that was when I got the opportunity to run Mint. And Mint was an app that I had been using since 2008, when it was still a website. And it was how I primarily managed my finances as [inaudible 00:03:52] 20-plus million individuals. And so, it was an opportunity to try to create something that would help individuals that were trying to get better. It’s like somebody that gets a gym membership, and helping them get fit, right? And so, it led me fairly close to where I am today. But during the Mint journey, I came across the independent workforce. We were looking to focus Mint a little bit. And the area we felt like we could add most value is the segment of individuals that were having more financial challenges, on the lower end of the financial spectrum, inability to access certain financial products. And that exposed me to gig work, and gig workers in general. And I’ll be the first to say I knew very little about it. I thought it was a few hundred thousand workers that worked for Uber.

Heather: Ooh, there’s lots of us.

Tilak: Yeah, yeah. It was way off, by orders of magnitude. There were 60 million-plus when I was looking at the numbers, and it’s far greater now, expected to be half of the American workforce in just a few years here. But what really drew me to that segment is the number of challenges that these individuals faced on a daily basis. I mean, 60% of gig workers don’t have enough savings, and can’t make ends meet. Seventy percent live paycheck to paycheck. Thirty-five percent are unbanked or underbanked. If you go beyond their financial circumstances, one in four don’t have any health insurance. The ones that do can’t afford their deductibles. About a third don’t have adequate car insurance. And when you get into more sophisticated products, like mortgages and retirement plans, that’s way beyond… If you can’t put food on the table, you’re not thinking about what’s gonna happen 30 years from now. You’re thinking about what’s gonna happen three hours from now.

So, it stayed with me when I started going through that aspect of the Mint journey. And we were also going through kind of an M&A process at the time, and we were talking to a lot of pretty prominent fintechs. And I would always get an answer that I deemed dissatisfactory, in terms of actually solving something for gig workers. The set of problems are so unique and different, and the work patterns are so different. And a generalized product that pays you two days early is not really enough for this segment. And so, it continued to light that fire, and fuel that fire a little bit, that, a few weeks before the pandemic, which I didn’t know the pandemic was coming, obviously, but a few weeks before the pandemic, I decided to go ahead and try to do something about it.

And so, I left Intuit to work on this new company that ended up becoming Lean, where the intent was to try to solve some of the problems I was talking about earlier. And I’ve been there ever since. So, it’s been an interesting journey, which I think has been a major contributor to what we’re trying to do here, just all the different experiences at larger companies, at tech companies, with similar segments of individuals, knowing what works in fintech, knowing what doesn’t work in fintech, and then having kind of an engineering background, and product background, to be able to connect the dots to the business, has been remarkable. It feels like my career has led me to this. Like, there couldn’t be a better fit for me from personal mission perspective, from a skill set perspective, and from an industry perspective. I love what we’re doing, and I love the team, and I think we’re all in the same camp there.

Heather: I love those moments, where you find that the spot you’re sitting in is only possible because of all the strange and sort of, potentially, incongruous moments that are now all behind you. I love that, where you’re like, “I think everything has been leading to this all along.” That’s really fun to hear.

Tilak: It’s a very happy moment. Yeah.

Heather: It is. It’s cool. It’s really satisfying. And does that mean that this is where, in your space, this is forever? Who knows? Right? But when you have that, I don’t know, that moment of things locking into place, it’s just the best feeling in the world. So, all of that brings us to Lean. Talk to me a little bit about it. How exactly does it work, and what makes it so special, differentiates Lean from other products that are somewhat competitors?

Tilak: So, great question and one that we get often. So, let me start with talking a little bit about Lean and what we’re doing. It ties very directly to the problems I outlined just a few minutes ago. And gig workers have, let’s say, five big problems that exist right now, that we did a survey with hundreds of workers, and it came back with this stack rank. And it’s debatable, absolutely, but we gotta go off of the data that we have, right? And so, the number one problem is I need my money now. Otherwise, I’m gonna go get a payday loan. The number two problem is I need more money. Even if I get my money now, I’m still gonna be borrowing, because I don’t have enough to pay all my bills, because they’re in the first 10 days of the month. And I make my money throughout the month.

And then the third one is I need access to better healthcare, but when you have a $1,500 deductible, and you don’t have any savings, you’re not doing anything more than going to your primary doctor. You can’t go to a specialist, you can’t get blood work done, you can’t do all the basic things that many of us do, especially as we age. And then number, four and number five were actually surprising. But number four was housing. And not just mortgages, but rental properties. There are many landlords that prefer individuals with steady income. So there’s a lot of gig workers that have to settle for a place that wasn’t their primary choice, because the landlord wouldn’t rent to them because of their inconsistent income.

And then, the fifth one is taxes, where gig workers pay taxes more often than the rest of us, just because it’s just how it works. It’s independent workers, they have to pay taxes four times a year. And there are a lot of opportunities to maximize taxes from an income perspective, for gig workers especially, because they’re using gas, and assets, and there’s so many business expenses, and a lot of gig workers don’t realize it, and they end up paying 30% more in taxes on average than they should be, because of all the deductions that they could be taking.

And so, those are the five. And Lean wants to be the company that bridges the gap on all of them. I mean, the way we summarize that is gig workers don’t have access to the financial system as we know it. And the reason for that, if you look at those five problems, there’s one common theme. It’s risk. Nobody knows how to risk gig workers, just because, the financial institutions are not necessarily malicious, but they built their risk models over the last 20 years.

This segment, and the growth of this segment and the focus on the segment, is relatively new. It’s the last 10 years, since Uber kind of happened, and since platforms like Instagram, and YouTube, and Patreon, etc., started getting up and running, it really kick-started this economy. And financial institutions are historically slow, and they have to be. They’re very large behemoths, that people need to trust. They can’t move very quickly. And risk is something that is the backbone of every one of those institutions. And they cannot change that for years at a time, maybe decades at a time. And so, if gig work is going to be the predominant way of work in the U.S., and financial institutions can’t move fast enough to serve these individuals, we’re in for a pretty depressing outlook for the country, right?

And so, that’s where the idea for Lean comes in, which is, we need to unlock the financial system for gig workers. And the key to unlocking the financial system is understanding risk for this particular segment. And so, Lean often looks like an instant payments company or a cash advance company. It gets grouped with a lot of folks that are basically doing arbitrage between pay cycles. Whereas our fundamental idea or fundamental thesis is, risk is the problem, and we need to figure out how to re-risk this particular segment, so we can unlock the entire financial system.

And so how we do that is we partner with gig marketplaces. Uber is an example of a gig marketplace. That’s not one of our customers at this moment. And we enable them to offer instant payouts first, to all of their workers. Instant payouts allow us to create stabilization models of income. Like, hey, this individual looks like they’re making approximately $500 a month, or a couple thousand dollars a month. There’s obviously so many more inputs than that. But I’m kind of simplifying for the sake of explaining what we do. So, we are able to create basic risk models. Then we start to offer lines of capital, about $1,000 in capital, that can be paid back as you work.

And so, the instant payouts get people their money now. It directly solves that first problem. Like, I want my money now. And so how that would work is I’m an Instacart shopper, I drop off groceries at your doorstep. Before I’m back to my car, I have my money. You get a push notification, you just got paid, go and spend it right away. It’s instantaneous, within milliseconds. Once you’ve been on the platform for a couple of months, we run through some eligibility criteria, and now you suddenly have access to $1,000 capital line, that’s always available for you. Some people are eligible at no cost, and some people are eligible at, like, a very low cost. I couldn’t even get any capital at the prices that we give it out at, thanks to our risk model.

So, those two essentially address the first two problems that gig workers face, which is, I need my money now, and I need access to more money. Because $1,000 helps individuals pay their bills before they’ve actually done the work. And then as they do the work, they can pay it back. Right? And then, both of those products allow us to further develop our model with more data, and then use that risk model that we have to help get access to more sophisticated products, like personal loans, like income guarantees, like bill pay guarantees, access to better health insurance, occupational accident insurance, and ultimately, income stability for rentals, and access to mortgages. So, we are very much a risk company that is disguised as a neobank, if that makes sense.

Heather: It does.

Tilak: And our mission is to get the entire financial system available to anybody that wants to follow their passions, their dreams, and work on their own terms, their own schedules, while at the same time sitting with their employers, to allow us to be able to do it, to get to them, to help the employers as well. Marketplaces are very important to us as well. Marketplaces, every single one that I’ve talked to, is mobilized to want to help individuals, but they have to do it in a way, because they’re running a business, that doesn’t damage their bottom line. And we are that path. Hey, we’ll help you be good to your workers, your workers will be very happy as a result of it, and then it’ll likely boost your retention and acquisition funnels as well, as a business. If workers are happy with you, they’ll stay with you.

So, it’s a win-win for everybody, from access perspective, for gig workers, for a retention/acquisition perspective, for marketplaces, and economics perspective for everybody. Because marketplaces get our product for free. Gig workers get our product for free, unless they’re taking on more sophisticated products. Like, the basic instant payouts product is always free. And everybody gets to win. Everybody gets to be happy. So, that’s the whole thesis behind Lean and the problems that we’re trying to solve.

Heather: With the risk-based products that folks have access to, over time, does their engagement with those products have an impact on those more traditional credit risk assessment, like, the big one, you know, the Experian? Does it impact their credit score in that way, or is this sort of happening in its own little ecosystem?

Tilak: It’s a hybrid. So, right now, it’s predominantly happening in its own little ecosystem. It’s an alternative way to look at the risk scores that Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion don’t use today. With the more sophisticated products, like mortgages and higher-dollar personal loans, it will be a hybrid of the two, where there is historical data that’s important. But if that historical data indicates that somebody is not eligible, our model will hopefully help most people get there, because the reasons why they’re ineligible may not be clear through the way TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian measure these individuals. Because the vector that they go on is exclusively [inaudible 00:15:56]. And it doesn’t indicate their ability to pay as well as it does for someone that’s W2, because there is inconsistency. And so if we can chart out someone’s income over time, and their payback tied to their income, and the pace that they make that money, there’s a very high probability that something that the traditional FICO credit score says makes an individual ineligible for a particular product will become eligible for that individual, using our model. So, starting with our own internal ecosystem, and then expanding to a hybrid approach.

Heather: Well, it’s incredible. I mean, I think that, you know, when we talk about that sort of barrier to entry when it comes to financial literacy, and just access to credit, oftentimes, folks who were brought up in a situation where there wasn’t a whole lot of financial literacy in their house, or then follow a career path, like you’re saying, in the gig economy, getting that initial leg up, that initial entry into the system, can be some of the hardest part, if you’ve never had any established credit to establish new credit as a grown person. And without a W2, you know, you’re really in a sticky spot. So, I’m really impressed by Lean’s mission and where you’re headed with all of this. It’s incredible. The economic impact of all of that, I mean, just the gig work alone, a lot of people who are on those paths are not exclusively gig workers. Many people are doing gig work as side hustles, you know, and having multiple income streams. So, bridging that gap, where they get a W2 from one employer, but a bunch of 1099s from their gig good work. So…

Tilak: One thing that I didn’t highlight, a clarification, the way we define gig work is not exclusively 1099. It’s people that are contingent workers. So, in a lot of cases, that is 1099, but there are cases where there would be people working in the hospitality industry that are taking on shifts that are part-time. They still don’t have access to anything except workers comp, because they’re not working enough hours with a particular employer. They’re still working with multiple employers. There are traditional gig companies, like rideshare companies, that sometimes make their workers W2, but they’re not working full-time, so they’re not eligible for any of the benefits. So, on the surface, it may look like they’re in a better position because they’re W2, but they’re not. And so, the market that we go after is really the contingent or on-demand workforce, that where someone does not have that stability. And that does tend to be 1099, more often than not, but there are W2 marketplaces that, and [inaudible 00:18:21] is one of them that we’re partnered with, that follow similar patterns, and our product works with them as well. So we do both.

Heather: What about security and privacy? I mean, our industry has an absolute key role to play in protecting both consumers’ and business data. What is Lean’s philosophy when it comes to data security?

Tilak: It’s what every single financial institution should be thinking about. Security and privacy is the basis for trust. And no financial services company will succeed without the trust of partners, users, everybody. And so, it’s paramount. The first two people that joined me on the Lean journey were our chief product officer, who spent nearly a decade building an alternative risk model, and dealing with data security, privacy, fraud, and all of that stuff. And she’s co-founder, Eden Kfir. And she’s been extraordinary in starting with what most companies follow on much too late, often, starting with setting the right infrastructure, the right policies, the right thought processes.

A second person that joined us on this journey is our counsel. And so, it’s something that we take unbelievably seriously. We don’t store data that is not necessary. We keep everything aggregate… We have compliance with everything from CCPA, to every regulation that’s out there. All of our money processing partners, our infrastructure partners, are SOC 2 compliant. So we follow every best practice that we can. And we have absolutely zero intent to do anything with the data except get access to more financial products. And that’s why we store it in aggregate. We try our best to avoid storing anybody’s PII data… We partner with banks and stuff, so the banks will have a lot of that data, but we try our best to not store any of that stuff. People don’t need more stress about what’s gonna happen with my data.

Heather: Right. We already feel so unbelievably overexposed.

Tilak: It’s so important. I mean, my one-line point of view on security and privacy is, it should be the backbone of every single financial services company out there. And I genuinely believe that it’s just because of our team’s experience of previous companies, etc., but we started with that. And people are like, “What are you doing? Why are your first hires risk, privacy, data, infrastructure, and legal?” It’s because we’re building a financial services company that we expect to be around for a long time, and we wanna make sure we set the best practices from day one. And that we’re not waiting until something goes wrong before we start to evaluate, and then apologizing. We’re starting in the right place. And so, big, big kudos to Eden, Stanton, and the rest of our team for continuing to make that a critical priority for us.

Heather: That’s a beautiful transition into my next question, because while you were talking, I was feeling curious about… You know, I talk to a lot of founders who didn’t come from a background of working for larger financial institutions or larger companies. And there’s that culture of, like, move fast, break stuff, right? And I think that speaks to what you were talking about in terms of people questioning your first hire or your first couple of hires, right? Because usually, it’s a couple of folks in somebody’s living room, you know, working on coding the software. So, my question for you is this. What do you think you brought to the table from that experience in those larger institutions that has made your founding or co-founding journey look a little bit different than a traditional startup?

Tilak: It’s a phenomenal question, and something I try to reflect on on a regular basis. So, one, for individuals that are starting and fail fast, break stuff, like, move quickly, that is absolutely still a core startup principle. Like, if you don’t do that, you won’t learn. Failure is a key input to learning. It’s a key input to success. And you fail, you learn, you move forward. And so, making those mistakes is a very honorable, good, right thing to do. It’s just, where you make those mistakes, it matters. And I think one of the biggest pieces of wisdom that had been imparted to me repeatedly, through working for the large financial services companies, is that there are certain mistakes that can kill your company. So, with your product, fail fast. Test things, take user feedback, with every single customer segment that you have. When it comes to security, privacy, trust, that’s not the place to mess around fail fast. And that was clear to me on day one.

The other thing that I think is a little bit unique, and I thought, “What if I had gone this route much earlier in my career?” I think one thing that I would have tried to do, just knowing myself and knowing kind of, like, this, like, hustle thinking of just, you know, growing up in this environment, where you very quickly learn how to get by, is, you tend to build up a lot of confidence in yourself and try to prove yourself, that I can do this, I can do that, I can do this, I can do that. And it’s great. Like, build confidence. But when you’re building a company, you don’t have to be the expert in anything, because you won’t be. You can’t be the person that is the best engineer, that’s the best product person, that’s the best designer, that’s the best legal mind that you have, that’s the best risk mind that you have, the best data mind that you have. It’s just not possible. Just by nature, being a jack of all trades means that you’re limiting yourself. And something that’s really important when you’re building a company is recognizing building your team is more important than your own individual contribution.

Your own individual contribution, the greatest thing that you could do for your company, is bring on absolutely brilliant people, that are exponentially smarter than you. And listen to them, pay attention, and learn. And it makes it a better ride too, because you’re learning every single day. I mean, and not just from your product failing, from everybody around you. And you truly genuinely have just an immense amount of respect for every single expert that you work with.

And I think that leads me to kind of the third point, which is the importance of diversity in a team. And the way I define diversity is one level deeper than I think the general interpretation of diversity, which is, it’s not just diversity based on gender, or race, ethnicity. That’s diversity, but it’s still, to a certain level, superficial. If you’re just meeting quotas and hiring people for the sake of hiring them, you’re not doing anybody a favor. What you need to do is think about your team as something that you need to balance. And so, by default, every single person that you bring on should be different than every person that’s already at the company. And so, yes, that means that you need to have a balance in gender, you need to have a balance in race, you need to have a balance… And a lot of the metrics that are the only factors that are being spoken about when it comes to diversity. But you also need a balance in someone that went to a great school, someone that didn’t go to college, someone that comes from very humble origins, to someone that comes from wealth, to someone that comes from a different country, to someone that was born in the States.

There’s a lot of balance and context that people bring to the table. And when you pull those together, and each individual is telling a story that comes from their own experiences, and their own skill sets, and their own strengths, it helps the group holistically get to the next level. Whereas, a lot of times, what I’ll see is teams that are homogenous. And founders don’t get it, right? Don’t hire your friends. Don’t hire the people that are like you. That’s just gonna create a bubble for you. Hire people that are different from each other. Every person that we’ve brought on so far, and we’ve been fortunate, has been very different from every other individual. And it’s naturally created a balance in gender, race, like, all the traditional metrics that people use for diversity, but it’s created diversity in thought, and diversity in experience, and diversity in context, which I think is underappreciated.

But every extraordinary team product success that I’ve seen has come from that. It doesn’t come from being homogenous. And people learn that later in the game. “Oh, no. Like, nobody told us this was a bad idea, because we all think the same thing.” So, I think those three aspects are things that I’ve learned over time. And so, had I started much, much earlier in my career, I didn’t know these things, and I would have probably hired a homogenous team, and broken things on the risk and data side, and, you know, just royally screwed up, and then learned from that screw-up. Luckily, I got to screw up on other people’s dollar, and not on Lean’s dollar. Sorry to everybody that that offends.

Heather: Oh, gosh. You know, and I think that what you hit on and what was bouncing around in my head while you were talking about that was a lot of times, I think that homogenous team comes from a place of being so, I’m gonna use the word scared, for lack of a different vocabulary word, around the leap you’re about to take, that a homogenous team gives you a shorthand, a shorthand in conversation, maybe training, maybe education, right? If you all sort of behave “the same kind of way,” and come from the same kind of background, we can move even faster, and we can see each other quicker, when the truth of the matter is the most valuable thing you can do for your company and for your team is exactly what you’re speaking to. But it takes time to develop what that communication looks like. Because you don’t get that shorthand, because everyone doesn’t come from the same educational background, or everyone doesn’t come from the same cultural background. So you can’t quickly find that communication pattern, but once it’s established, and it, like, is from a space of growth and expansion and inclusion, oh my gosh, then it’s limitless. Whereas that shortcut version has a short runway.

Tilak: Absolutely. What a great way to describe, kind of… There’s never malintent. It’s always this friction of we need to move quickly, so let me go with what I understand. Because it is harder to not go with that. But if you do go down the harder path, you’ll gain a lot from it very quickly. Whereas you may have a longer time horizon to learn some of those things if you don’t go down the harder path early, but you will eventually have to. But it’s human nature, which is fascinating, because that human nature, and there’s, like, a ton of books that have been written about this by behavioral economists, but we kind of lean towards the short term and not the long term. That’s our natural lean, because our species is evolved to survive. And survival is not thinking 30 years from now. I’m thinking now. And it affects everything from team-building to the types of things that you do. You almost have to train your mind to jump into the deep end of the pool. Nobody wants to jump into the deep end, right? You wanna get in the water, like, slowly dip your toes in, you know, and you have to train your mind.

Heather: It’s cold in there.

Tilak: Yeah. And you have to train yourself. But then you’re having fun faster than everybody else is when you jump into the deep end of the pool, because you’re fully immersed, you’re fully in there, while everyone else is gradually kind of getting in there. And you learn a ton from that. Like, just putting yourself in uncomfortable situations is the key to growth. And it’s a skill that you have to develop. Just that practice, that method. I mean, I have many, many years and so much further for me to go in terms of developing that skill, but constantly just, “Am I doing this because it’s easier or am I doing this because I think this is the best possible thing to do?” is a question I ask myself on a daily basis, multiple times a day. And, hopefully, I continue going down the harder path. So, I don’t ever wanna stop learning, because that’s the equivalent of kill me now.

Heather: Oh, Tilak, it has been such a pleasure speaking with you today. If folks wanna get in touch with you or if they wanna learn more about your company, where should they go?

Tilak: Withlean.com is our website. Come and find me if you wanna chat on LinkedIn or on Twitter, or just email me. Maybe we can put the email address in the description, and hope that bots won’t get me but, yeah, feel free to reach out. I love talking about this stuff and I love hearing about what people have to say about it, people’s stories. Like, there are a lot of gig workers that reach out, marketplaces that reach out, or even individuals that are inspired and starting their own company. I love talking about this stuff. So…

Heather: Well, thanks again. I really appreciate your time.

Tilak: Thank you. I appreciate it, Heather.

Heather: If you enjoyed this episode and wanna hear more, head on over to soarpay.com/podcast to subscribe on your podcast listening platform of choice. That’s soarpay.com/podcast.

Industry Spotlight


Lean enables marketplace companies to offer financial products tailor-made for the 1099 and flex W2 workforce. We enable instant payouts in milliseconds, completely free. We also offer $1000 no-cost cash advances, with us taking on all the associated risk, compliance, and capital. Our platform is 100% free, and it takes less than 2 weeks to get-to-market. With our existing partners, we’re rolling out to 200k+ gig workers.

Lean is backed by Inspired Capital, Atelier Ventures, Acequia Capital, Oceans Ventures and a number of strategic angels, including founders & execs from Instacart, Uber, Postmates, DoorDash, Handy, Stripe, Coinbase, and Plaid.