Interview with Jason Lee

What was your motivation in co-founding DailyPay?

In 2015, I was trying to order a pizza and saw that my favourite pizza chain was not on the online delivery service. So, I did some research and found that it was due to a payment timing issue – the same timing issue endemic to the American payroll cycle. When I looked across this entire landscape, here is what I saw. We have a pay system that revolves around the employer but completely ignores the needs of the employees. Those employees then seek highly inferior alternatives like payday loans to address the gaps caused by the system’s failure. Their financial health deteriorates, which hurts their families, society and, yes, their employers through higher turnover and absenteeism. We have employers who believe the only lever to pull when it comes to pay is rate. And so these observations led me to this question: What if we were to rebuild payroll from the ground up, but this time putting the employee at the centre of the system? And what if we built a completely outsourced solution so employers could preserve their existing processes? And that is when DailyPay was born in my basement in 2015.


In November, DailyPay will be six years old. What key factors have driven its success since it launched in 2015?

In 2016, we embarked on a mission to build a new financial system that starts working, the minute work starts. For too long, the way money moves has been controlled by a set of invisible rules – invisible rules that just make all of our lives harder.

Rules that say that even if you work and earn every day, you still get only paid once every two weeks.

Rules that prevent merchants from actually connecting with their shoppers at the right moment, when they actually want to buy something.

Rules that decide who can and who cannot open up the best bank account for themselves.

Rules that say you cannot save and invest before payday.

We built a technology platform to reimagine the way money moves, and we launched it with on-demand pay and the concept of this simple but powerful thing we call the pay balance. Our first-of-its-kind technology platform combines a massive data network with tens of millions of nodes over six thousand connections with endpoints in the banking system, and a unique and proprietary funding model that results in a consumer knowing her pay balance – a balance like any other balance – which is your money. Usable, consumable, spendable, saveable.

We see this as a win-win-win. We are creating this powerful technology platform. Employers using ODP are keeping employees as much as 72% longer and hiring 52% faster while employees are saving an average of $1,200 a year from avoiding overdraft fees, late fees and payday loans.


How do you feel that DailyPay has changed the way payroll is handled since that time?

The antiquated payroll system is an outdated relic of the past. We are living in a digital, contactless world where you can access almost anything you want at the touch of a button, and millions of our users have come to rely on easy access to their money as they earn it.

DailyPay is building a financial system that starts working the minute work starts. With DailyPay, employees now have complete control and access over their earned pay. DailyPay enables employees to have 24/7/365 access to their money. No longer do they need to wait on their companies to run payroll. Now they can view their pay balance in real-time, so they can budget, pay bills and save at the click of a button. For employers, it is a solution that comes with no payroll change or costs.


What would you consider to be the biggest achievements of your career to date?

Seeing the life-changing impact DailyPay has on millions of individuals and families excites and motivates me to work every day. One of my greatest joys is reading testimonials of our users who share how DailyPay helps them take care of everything from diapers to groceries to starting a savings account.

I started DailyPay after seeing the negative impacts of a broken financial system and the need for American workers to have access to their money.

At DailyPay, we built a financial technology platform that reimagines the way money moves and works for everyone. Employees are able to track and access their earned pay and achieve financial wellness for themselves and their families.

Today, DailyPay provides tailored solutions to hundreds of leading companies and has helped free millions of employees from predatory financial products.


What crucial advice would you give to an aspiring CEO looking to start out in the financial services sector?

Pay close attention to your data and metrics. It is a simple rule that gets easily overlooked. No matter how well thought out an idea is, if your data cannot support it, you need to scratch it. I have seen many young CEOs who are driven by passion but neglect the numbers and statistics. It is a costly mistake that can have rippling effects, impacting your employees all the way to your business’s reputation.


Do you foresee any significant new trends coming to fintech in 2021/22?

With the post pandemic world transforming the workplace and businesses struggling to rehire workers, we can expect more companies seeking and opting in for an on-demand pay solution.

With a growing demand for a daily pay platform, an influx of new providers will likely appear even in the next year or so. When DailyPay was first founded, there was only one other player in the market. Now, there are over 40 and counting.

With the acceleration of digitisation in the workforce, employers and employees will heavily rely on on-demand payment technologies, opening new avenues for technological expansion. In addition to our current relations with employers and employees, we expect to broaden our reach and form relations with vendors and merchants. Once on-demand pay becomes mainstream, individuals will want to use it more regularly, whether it is directly paying for items via the app or in other ways. At DailyPay, we are ready to accommodate those transactions and facilitate financial fluidity to benefit everyone.


Are you currently working on any major projects?

I co-founded The Alicia and Jason Lee Foundation with my wife, Alicia, in 2020. Over the past two years, we have actively supported a wide range of philanthropic endeavours relating to criminal justice reform, financial literacy, and community initiatives.


Can you tell us anything about your goals for DailyPay for the next 12 months?

We just announced that we have secured $500 million of capital – $175 million of equity from our Series D fundraising round and $325 million of debt. We intend to invest our newly raised capital in new product and market opportunities for our industry-leading technology platform, in addition to extending our market leadership position in on-demand pay among the largest employers in the world.

The initial application of our first-of-its-kind technology platform was to redefine how money moves between employers and their employees. We are now expanding our platform to change the relationship between merchants and their shoppers, as well as financial institutions and their customers.

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