Today we’re thrilled to introduce Check, the first platform for developers to build new payroll products. Our mission is to make paying people simple — because even though trillions of dollars pass through payroll systems in the US every year, the technology underpinning those systems hasn’t been upgraded in decades.
For the past two years we’ve worked quietly on Check, developing it with early customers that collectively power over 100k small businesses. During that time we’ve learned a lot about how to make payroll work better. We think it starts with providing the core infrastructure that enables innovation across the ecosystem. So we wanted to share some insights around what brought us to today and where we’re headed, with the support of some amazing partners.
The Way Businesses Pay People
All commerce can be thought of as just two payment streams:
- Customers paying businesses
- Businesses paying the people who work for them
About a decade ago, companies like Stripe made it possible for developers to accept payments in their products, effectively addressing 1. But until today, developers have lacked the equivalent platform to enable the second payment flow — from businesses to the people who work for them.
That changes with Check. Our infrastructure makes it possible to programmatically make a wage payment just as easily as businesses accept payments online today.
3 in 4 businesses use an industry-specific software platform to manage their business. The reason is simple: A fitness studio has different workflow needs than an HVAC business, which in turn has different workflow needs than a restaurant. This reality has propelled the rise of vertical software giants like Mindbody, ServiceTitan, and Toast over the past decade.
But despite this trend, running payroll, one of the most frequent and time-consuming workflows a business performs, has resisted industry specialization. Paying employees is still done in much the same way it was 30 years ago: through standalone systems into which data must be entered manually, or through munged spreadsheets. The result is vertical software companies that serve as the system of record for their customers for all major functions — except payroll.
Check turns this problem on its head. Our API-first embedded payroll service for vertical SaaS and HR companies makes it possible for businesses to run payroll in the software platform they use on a day-to-day basis, instead of syncing data to a standalone payroll provider. This provides a radically better user experience, while also unlocking a powerful new revenue stream for vertical SaaS and HR platforms.
$35M Series B led by Stripe and Thrive
Today we’re also excited to share that we have closed $35M in Series B funding led by Stripe and Thrive. This brings our total raised to $44M, including an $8M Series A we raised early last year led by Bedrock with participation from Thrive and Index, and a $1M seed investment by Bedrock in 2019.
We’re thrilled to partner with Stripe on this journey, and to double down on our relationships with Thrive, Bedrock, and Index. We share an aligned worldview with Stripe, centered around the belief that wage payments should be programmatically addressable. And that by making that possible we will unlock a wave of innovation in the payroll market.
We’re also humbled to be supported by many other fantastic investors, founders, and operators including: Pascal Capital, Jean-Denis Greze (Head of Engineering, Plaid), Dylan Field (CEO, Figma), Henry Ward (CEO, Carta), Jack Altman (CEO, Lattice), Angus Davis (founder, Upserve), Tim Barash (CFO, Toast), Ashot Iskandarian and Travis Brown (founders, Shopmonkey), Dan Romero (early Coinbase), and Allison Esposito Medina (founder, Tech Ladies).
As second-time founders we know that who you work with is at least as important as what you work on. That’s why after over seven years of building our first company, Oyster, together we couldn’t wait to get started again. We knew the power, and the fun, of working on a small, kind, and passionate team that deeply trusts one another.
From those roots we’ve now grown into a distributed team of more than 20, with hubs in NYC and San Francisco. We’ve brought together world-class technical expertise from companies like Google, Uber, and Goldman Sachs and paired it with decades of payroll experience spanning ADP, Gusto, and Paychex.
We’re Just Getting Started
Reinventing the way people get paid is going to be a long journey — the work we’ve done so far simply represents the opening mile. If our story resonates with you, please reach out. We’d love to have you join us.
And if you’re a developer, PM, or software business owner who wants to integrate payroll into your product, you can email us to request an API key, or a demo from our partnerships team. We’d love to talk with you.