SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Azlo, www.azlo.com, a digital banking platform for freelancers and self-employed workers, who make up the growing "gig economy," and U.S. based small businesses more broadly, has announced the public availability of its product.
Starting today, a large segment of entrepreneurs, many of whom have been overlooked by traditional banking institutions, will be able to access dedicated business banking services instantly online, with no fees, minimum balances or confusing conditions.
Brian Hamilton, Founder & CEO of Azlo, commented, "Our vision is to improve access to core financial services for entrepreneurs from all walks of life by offering transparent business banking services that enable them to pay and get paid, including across borders, promoting a free flow of money without fees or boundaries. Globalization and the changing nature of work has intensified an already unequal access to economic opportunity. Fair and uncomplicated access to these tools can help level the playing field for many marginalized communities of founders and business owners."
There are 44 million people in the U.S. alone that have a "side-gig," and it is predicted that by 2020 43% of the U.S. workforce will be freelancers*1. Many of these entrepreneurs don't have a dedicated business account. Azlo's value proposition is not just a free business banking*2 solution but a full service experience that integrates seamlessly with modern digital business tools, such as eCommerce, point-of-sale and marketplace providers, and does so across languages and socio-economic boundaries.
"What distinguishes Azlo is its focus on the new economy, including millennials and underrepresented entrepreneurs, and creating a deep and valuable relationship with its customers through community engagement," says Ramona Ortega, Azlo's Entrepreneur-In-Residence.
Founded in early 2017, Azlo's initial funding round was provided by BBVA's New Digital Businesses unit, which is also incubating similar businesses in BBVA's Silicon Valley based fintech lab. BBVA's involvement is part of the bank's focus on fostering disruption in the banking sector, and ensuring it learns from the innovations coming from outside the business. The capital is being used to further product development and to scale the platform to address the multi-billion dollar SMB financial services market. Azlo expects to expand to other global markets in the future. Its goal is to cultivate an international community of entrepreneurs seeking financial independence, and to provide valuable growth and advisory services.
Teppo Paavola, Chief Development Officer at BBVA's NDB unit, said, "Our goal at NDB is to identify banking disruptors that are transforming what we know as banking today. Azlo's desire to provide entrepreneurs with a new banking experience designed to engage and partner with aspiring founders from all backgrounds is an appealing proposition. Our venture capital investment signals our belief in Azlo's accomplished management team and will support public market availability and accelerated growth."
Azlo is focused on empowering millennials and underserved business communities, creating greater access to economic opportunity and celebrating diversity in entrepreneurship. Azlo offers instant digital business banking services, with no fees or minimums, including domestic and international payments, billpay, mobile check deposit and digital invoicing. Azlo is a simple, affordable way for the founders and creators of the new economy to go borderless and grow their business without the hassles of traditional banking. Headquartered in San Francisco, Azlo has offices in Portland, LA, Birmingham and NYC, and is active in local communities nationwide.
BBVA is a customer-centric global financial services group founded in 1857. The Group has a solid position in Spain, it is the largest financial institution in Mexico and it has leading franchises in South America and the Sunbelt Region of the United States. Corporate responsibility is at the core of its business model. BBVA fosters financial education and inclusion, and supports scientific research and culture. It operates with the highest integrity, a long-term vision and applies the best practices. BBVA Compass Bancshares, Inc. is a Sunbelt-based bank holding company and its primary subsidiary, Compass Bank, ranks among the top 25 commercial banks in the United States. Its diversified business is focused on high-growth markets and it relies on technology as a key sustainable competitive advantage.
BBVA's NDB unit invests in, partners with, incubates and acquires disruptive financial technology firms as part of BBVA's focus on delivering innovation in the banking sector. From its offices in Madrid, San Francisco, Hong Kong and London, NDB is actively searching for leading, innovative businesses to shape the future of the sector. Through NDB, BBVA has acquired Simple (U.S.), Holvi (Finland) and Openpay (Mexico) and owns a substantial stake in Atom (UK). It has incubated a number of fintech startups including, Azlo, Covault, Denizen, Muno, and Trust-u. BBVA also invests in fintech through its venture capital arm, Propel Venture Partners.
2*Insured business bank accounts are provided by Azlo's partner bank, BBVA Compass*3, member FDIC.
3*BBVA Compass is a trade name of Compass Bank, member FDIC.