February 9, 2022 | Firm News

Expanding Access to Credit – Why We’re Excited About Highline

Amy Cheetham

Written by

Amy Cheetham

Highline founders: Darin Cline, Geoff Brown, & Arun Agrahri

Millions of Americans have stable jobs but poor credit scores. Maybe they missed paying a few bills and are still getting dinged for it; maybe they’re new to the job market and haven’t yet established their own credit history. With no financial cushion, when they need financing to replace their cell phone or pay some unexpected car or medical bills, the only credit they can often get is at exorbitant rates because of their perceived risk.

Highline changes all that. By working with banks, lenders and other financial institutions, Highline makes it easy for consumers to get these bills and loans paid directly from their paychecks. Knowing that these bills will be automatically paid on time and in full, billers can then extend them credit at better rates – a win-win for all. Yet the technological challenges of payroll-linked lending are pretty significant and usually require a heavy engineering lift, especially given the complexities of dealing with the odd frequencies and limitations of direct deposits. With Highline, any lender or biller can receive payments from payroll without rearchitecting their products.

That’s why we’re backing Highline’s experienced and talented founders as they reinvent how people pay their bills and unlock access to credit. Founder and CEO Geoff Brown has years of experience in both product and lending, he spent 10+ years in credit risk at CapitalOne and most recently spent time at Salary Finance where he headed up credit risk for their payroll-linked portfolio. Co-Founder and CTO Arun Agrahri is a serial fintech entrepreneur whose superpower is building product and engineering teams from scratch that can address the not-insignificant technical challenges of linking credit to a person’s payroll. And Co-Founder and COO Darin Cline was part of the founding team at Marcus by Goldman Sachs, leading the operations teams there and earlier at Lending Club and CapitalOne. He also has personal experience with how powerful payroll-linked lending can be. Having come out of the Naval Academy with no credit but a steady income and promising career in the U.S. Navy, he was able to get a paycheck-linked loan at an interest rate that would be unheard of for most people with his (nonexistent) credit history. 

That’s the kind of access to capital that Highline seeks to create for as many as 40 million Americans. And that’s why we’re so excited to lead Highline’s Seed round with Foundation Capital – backing an impressive team with a passion for financial inclusion and the technological and leadership skills to make it happen. If you know anyone who shares this passion, Highline is hiring! Check out their open roles here