Traditional finance companies and banking institutions aren’t offering enough products that help solve the challenges consumers and businesses face today, Lili Founder and CEO Lilac Bar David told FinLedger.
That’s why she founded New York-based Lili in 2018, a banking app designed for independent and gig workers, to help solve these pain points that consumers face. The company claims that it saves freelancers 60 hours and $1700 a year.
David has been involved in the banking and payments industry for about two decades and has a vast spectrum of experience in both business and management. Before starting up Lili, she was the co-founder of Israeli digital bank Pepper.
David spoke with FinLedger about her inspiration for starting up Lili, her strategy going forward and more.
Lili is aimed at serving freelancers. What inspired you to start up Lili for this very specific demographic of people?
We were looking for a segment that is big, growing and changing. The startup that we wanted to build is one that would create a better impact on an underserved community. We came across the intersection between the online economy and the freelance economy and all of the changes within the future of work in the US. We saw that the big, changing and growing segment is currently something in between a consumer and a small business that has specific pain points. And nobody is actually focused on those pain points and finding a solution to them. We thought that there is an opportunity for us to build a different experience specifically designed for that segment.
How has it been operating Lili amid the COVID-19 pandemic this past year?
Because of unemployment and because people wanted to have more diversification with their sources of income, they were exposed to the freelance economy. And then they started [doing] freelance [work] either on a day-to-day basis or as a major source of income. That specific trend actually made our product even more important within their day-to-day routines, because they were new to the concept of being self employed. They didn’t have a clue as to what it takes to manage a business in regards to all of the different aspects of payments, taxes and expenses, and then financials and credit, etc. We’re in a position to empower them with knowledge and know-how best practices, but also with products and services. The second thing that happened during COVID-19 is because people were locked down a lot, they actually realized that the concept of going to a branch doesn’t make any sense. Because you’re at home, where you want to get access to all of those different, cool fintech services which are all online and digital. The adoption of the entire fintech community during COVID has increased a lot.
What is your strategy going forward this year to continue growing the company?
We want to be the go-to for freelancers in the U.S. If you’re a freelancer, you have to have Lili, and we are looking to solve different challenges one after another. We’re focusing on taxes and expenses first, now we’re looking more into getting paid invoices and credit next. That’s the way we work, moving from one challenge to another. And trying to create using our product or experiencing our data, etc. better use cases that will make life easier and simple for the freelancers, but also actually save time and money as an end goal.
This interview has been edited to read clearly and concisely.