Softbank’s Vision Fund has invested an additional $655m in Greensill Capital as the supply chain finance provider reveals it has acquired tech firm FreeUp, a company that offers employees early payment of earned wages.
The further injection of funds from Japan’s Softbank follows an initial $800m investment made in May this year. Greensill said that the funding will continue to support the company’s international expansion.
The acquisition of London-based start-up FreeUp will allow Greensill to broaden its services from providing advance payment of suppliers’ invoices, to also giving workers the opportunity to receive their earned wages much earlier. It is a move that could challenge the presence of payday loan providers.
“Essentially, all workers are suppliers – supplying their employers with their time and skills,” Lex Greensill, founder and CEO of the company said.
“There is effectively no difference between our firm making an early invoice payment and making an early salary payment. With the IP we are acquiring from FreeUp along with our own technology and expertise, our global network of clients and the financial support of SoftBank Investment Advisers, manager of the SoftBank Vision Fund, we see the potential to revolutionise the way workers are paid around the world.
“Why shouldn’t they get paid as soon as they earn a salary, rather than waiting to be paid weekly, fortnightly or monthly? Especially when this won’t cost the employee anything,” he said.
FreeUp was founded by tech entrepreneurs Reuben Saxon, Marta Krupinska and David Townsend.
A pilot of the new product is to begin immediately with a full launch due in a few months, according to a release from Greensill.
Reuben Saxon, FreeUp founder, said joining Greensill will give the company an opportunity “to make the way people are paid simpler, fairer and more useful – for everyone”.
Over the last 14 months, Greensill has raised more than $1.7 billion from institutional investors, General Atlantic and SoftBank Vision Fund.