Fintech Karma has held successful UK trials of an app aimed at disrupting the payday loan market, with support to the value of £15million from ethical investor Fortunis Capital.
Karma (getkarma.co.uk) allows employees monthly salary advances of £300 with zero interest – in contrast to the punitive rates charged by some lenders.
Karma consumer tested the ground-breaking smartphone app with the backing of lead investor, London-headquartered Fortunis Capital, who invest in the fintech, greentech, bio and medtech and wellness sectors. The total investment agreed for Karma is £15million, with an initial £500million revolving debt pool.
Fortunis Chief Operations Officer Justin MacRae said: “We have found investments in innovation provide a higher multiple of returns to our investors than what was achievable before, while also making a real positive impact on our society and the world we live in.
“In the current climate, consumer and investor demands are rapidly evolving and they see value in ethical investment in companies with purpose and salience. In the short and long-term, companies with strong moral, social and environmental credentials will stand out from the crowd and reap financial and social gain.
“Karma fits that criteria – an incredible team and a problem that’s truly worth solving, through a tech-driven solution that is scalable on a global level.”
Karma has also been supported by the FCA sandbox programme which tests new products in a regulatory framework.
Employers signing up to Karma can advance staff £300 on their salary to purchase goods and services at retailers – in person and online – including Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose and Amazon. Employees pay no interest or fees and, unlike current lending schemes, may improve their credit rating.
Initial tests were held in Scotland with the support of the Scottish Government whose Innovations Minister Ivan McKee said: “It’s a pleasure to welcome Karma, particularly as a fintech seeking to solve a major societal challenge and make lives better for people across the globe.”
Karma CEO Minck Hermans said: “We have built not just a solution, but are starting a global movement, to disrupt the short-term consumer loan market and eradicate the pain this causes.”