Fintech Kasheesh wants financially struggling clients to say goodbye to BNPL

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Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) products have become incredibly popular among users. startups and tech giants like Apple have taken notice.. But BNPL companies have also generated some controversy for encouraging people who are less financially secure to take on debt without fully explaining the risks involved.

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Kashish, the less than two-year-old fintech startup, stepped out of the shadows today with a product that its founders say could benefit consumers by offering similar flexibility to BNPL, but without taking a loan. The company’s flagship product is a web browser extension that allows online shoppers to split their payments into multiple combinations of debit, credit and gift cards without having to pay a fee or interest, co-founder and CEO Sam Miller told TechCrunch.

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“You use your existing credit and your existing debit to actually facilitate the transaction, instead of going through a credit pull and a loan underwriting that you don’t fully understand, and then you buy the same item and owe money for six to twelve months. Miller said.

The platform itself launched in closed beta in January and has already attracted more than $10 million in user transactions and purchases, according to the company. Miller added that this number has been steadily doubling every month since launch.

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According to Miller, Kashish targets two main types of customers. The first group are paycheck-to-paycheck consumers who use the platform as a budgeting tool to avoid overusing their cards or credit. The second bucket, he added, is a customer who “has 10 credit cards and wants to[s] each card should be on top of the purse.” These customers can also use Kasheesh to share purchases with friends, for example. Miller said the company has not yet targeted these users intentionally because while the technology supports collaborative purchases, the company is still at such an early stage that it has not yet ramped up the capacity of its customer support team to handle requests from numerous people about a single transaction.

In addition to the public launch, Kashish also announced that it has raised $5.5 million in seed funding from institutional and celebrity angel investors. The round included venture capital firms Tribe Capital, Anthemis and Courtside Ventures, as well as NFL player Odell Beckham Jr., investor Sahil Bloom and actor Robin Wright.

The company is able to offer its product to users for free because it earns from MasterCard’s exchange fees, which help Kashish issue single-use cards on behalf of users for every purchase. This one-time card, Miller explained, is drawn from the funding sources the customer desires and allows the customer to choose how much money to use from each source when making a purchase. For MasterCard, he added, the value proposition makes more sense than it does for BNPL because the average value of a Kasheesh order per customer is “significantly over $1,800” compared to the average BNPL purchase, which tends to be much less.

Sam Miller, co-founder and CEO of Kasheesh

Sam Miller, co-founder and CEO of Kasheesh Image Credits: Kashish

Over time, Kasheesh plans to evolve its technology so that users can use the same card for multiple transactions rather than creating a new one-time card each time, Miller said. Miller also plans to grow the Kasheesh team, which currently has 12 people, by actively hiring for roles related to product and customer success.

The company says it is also focused on the security and privacy of customer information. Kashish has partnered with Stripe and Plaid to process transactions, so the company doesn’t store credit card information on its servers, co-founder and CTO Kevin Kim told TechCrunch.

“We strongly believe in the anonymity of transactions. I kind of compare it to the day when there was always one person in line at the grocery store who had to write a check when they checked out of the grocery store, and that’s the stigma that came with it. For this reason, we do not choose cherries. Everyone is treated the same — it doesn’t matter what geographic location, demographic information, what cards you link, it doesn’t matter to us,” added CEO Miller.

Although Kasheesh serves many of the same consumers as BNPL, Miller is confident that his product is differentiated enough to stand out.

“We view the entire fintech world as one giant competition,” Miller said. “I think alternative cashier financing is a category that we are in, including BNPL, including traditional forms of payment like credit and debit, including crypto, but. I think we don’t have direct competition in who does exactly what we do… But I think there will be this huge wave of consumers looking for a little more power and transparency into what they are buying.”

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