Content Creator Financial Platfrom Karat Raises $70 Million
A charge card and financial platform aimed at content creators has closed a new round of venture funding.
About the round:
This week, Karat announced that it has raised a new $70 million round. As Crunchbase notes, this includes $30 million in equity and a $40 million debt facility. The equity portion of the Series B round was led SignalFire with participation from returning investors, such as Union Square Ventures, CRV, and GGV, as well as newcomers including Commerce Ventures and Will Smith’s Dreamers VC. Meanwhile, the debt financing portion came from TriplePoint Capital. According to Karat, more than 80 creators have also invested in the company. To date, the FinTech has now raised a total of $115.6 million, including a $26 million Series A in 2021.
Karat is FinTech focused on serving the growing creator market. The company’s first product was a rewards charge card that not only allowed cardholders to earn cashback on common expense categories but also offered credit limits that took creators’ followings into account. Using this model, the company stated that it was able to provide many influencers with limits higher than they might be able to obtain under more traditional models.
More recently, Karat has expanded its platform to offer bookkeeping and tax prep services. Additionally, the startup recently updated its business charge cards to enable cardholders to build personal credit history with the product.
What they’re saying:
In an email interview with TechCrunch, Karat Financial co-founder and co-CEO Will Kim explained what made the company unique, stating, “The bottom line is that Karat sees creators as the brands and businesses of tomorrow, but high-end creators, just like any other business, need access to capital to grow. Karat is here to fuel that growth, democratizing access to capital that remains outside the focus of large banks.” Kim continued “Creators are eating the world, and Karat is in a great position to be the financial system that powers them.”
As an observer of Karat and a cardholder, I’m not surprised to see that the company continues to gain investment. In particular, it makes sense that the company would be able to attract creator investors given the startup’s presence at major creator-centric events in recent years. Personally, I’ve seen several YouTubers I’m familiar with mentioning the service or otherwise appearing on their platforms.
Admittedly, Karat’s pursuit of these influencers can feel a bit cringe (as the kids say) to me at times — but the truth is that they do seem to be providing a helpful service. For one, with their core product being a charge card, they’re aiding creators’ cash flow without putting them into debt long term. Plus, thanks to their more recent tax service additions, they’re also highlighting an oft-forgotten aspect of self-employment that can end up biting creators in the behind. For those reasons alone, I’m excited about Karat’s latest funding round and look forward to seeing what the company does next.