I came across a fintech startup called Pallo over on Product Hunt. It wasn’t just the product that intrigued me, but the freelancers-turned-founders’ back story.
Pallo, an AI integrated business and personal finance app designed by freelancers for freelancers, promises to be a game-changer for independent workers. Some of the first questions that come to mind for any freelancer when they see yet another app that will revolutionise their lives are:
- Will it make my freelancing admin less complicatedand?
- Will this app save me not just time but money?
The founders of Pallo launched their product via Product Hunt today, claiming their financial application differentiates itself. Why? Because it enables freelancers to manage their business and personal finances all in one place.
What does open banking via Pallo look like for freelancers? Well, for one, it means you can move your money between your different bank accounts, such as your personal and business in a single app, not a handful.
One of the more unique Pallo functions that freelancers have said they appreciate is when they make a purchase, they can simply swipe the digital transaction receipt left or right to compartmentalise whether it was a personal or business-related purchase.
The application is also formulated to create invoices, budgeting (coming soon), insights, and receipt management, time and mileage tracking, accounting and even file your taxes.
What’s their freelancer backstory?
The founders, Adiraj, Sanin and Henry had been freelancing for five years and during that time admitted that even though freelancing afforded them a rewarding lifestyle, it came with some hefty headaches.
“We found one of our biggest stressors was managing our finances, accounting and tax,” said co-founder Adiraj Gupta. “Turns out we weren’t alone!” he said.
Gupta said one of the problems many freelancers, the self-employed and gig workers face is having to use up to five apps or platforms to manage finances, accounting and on top of that, tax. That means subscription fees and probably more in-app purchases. Like most freelancers, the Pallo founding team saw tax returns or at least the preparation of them as “daunting, stressful, and usually done last minute.”
Henry Barclay, Co-Founder, CEO of Pallo, shares how it all started:
FI: I’m really interested in that moment when you all agreed to launch a business
HB: We’ve all been friends for four years. Then around tax season 2020, just prior to COVID, the three of us were all complaining that being freelance is hard, and managing finance and tax as a freelancer, especially in the US, is a real burden. Turns out we weren’t the only ones. Once we realised it was a far more prolific issue we decided to dive in. And in late 2020 we registered BMG technologies Inc (Pallo) and left our other jobs to be full time on Pallo.
FI: How did you juggle your day jobs while developing the app?
HB: We decided to go ‘all in’ around late 2020. So we’ve been full time for a while now. We just realised that to fully put our hearts and souls into this and do it justice, we had to fully commit.
FI: What is your message to freelancers out there that are on the fence as to whether they keep doing things solo or branch off to do something bigger with fellow freelancers like you have?
HB: Being freelance / self-employed is incredibly rewarding, and freeing, being able to choose where you work from, what you work on and who with, is just so worth it. If it wasn’t for solving a problem for freelancers, we’d still be freelance ourselves.
How is Pallo funding itself?
During the COVID, pandemic Pallo has had some serious support so that it could scale up. It has a team of over 40 members whose prior work experience ranges from Intuit, H&R Block, Microsoft to Credit Karma. Initially self-funded by its founders, Pallo has since garnered pre-seed investment from successful and tech-savvy entrepreneurs including Michael Ragheb (Elemy), Richard Olver (Crowdstrike), Tony Jamous (Oyster HR), Omar Haroun (Text IQ), Peter Bruce-Clark (Social Impact Capital), angel investor group Gaingels, VCs like Alcove and Keen Growth Capital, and community bank consortium Alloy Labs.
“Being self-employed is incredibly empowering, but it’s not without its challenges. Pallo is built to reduce the stress and complexity of financial admin that come with being freelance,” said Barclay, Co-Founder of Pallo. “We are excited to launch Pallo, providing innovative solutions to freelancers that make managing finances easier; it’s that simple.”
“Pallo is built from the ground up with user experience design and security at its very core,” said Adiraj Gupta, co-founder of Pallo.
What can the Pallo app actually do right now?
Here are some of the app’s functions so you can compare them with other products out there:
- Manage all finances in one place– Add unlimited personal and business accounts to Pallo. Credit/debit cards too. Create, schedule, and manage payments
- Handles taxes– All transactions are organised, expenses are logged, revenue accounted for
- Organise receipts– Photograph receipts with Pallo and its AI helps categorise them
- An AI assistant that never sleeps– It’s like an assistant, accountant, and financial planner in one place
- Get paid faster– With Pallo’s invoicing system
- Set goals and beat them– Measure financial health with Pallo at the tip of your finger
- Other benefits:
- Encrypted: All user data is encrypted and isolated with multi-factor authentication and bank-grade security
- Smart & Secure: Real-time transaction notification and smart insights keep customers in control
- Private: Pallo never sells personal information and protects privacy at every step
Digital nomads want to know: which countries can you use the Pallo app?
Freelancers are much more mobile these days, much like Amy Nicholson (@freelance_amy) who spends her time freelancing in different countries. Being a serial ex-pat myself it was natural for me to ask: which markets can you actually use the Pallo app?
It’s probably worth noting that the startup is one of the first companies in the US to use open banking, something that the UK is no stranger to.
Co-founder Gupta told me this morning via Product Hunt that while the fintech app will be live in the US first, the application is available in New Zealand, the UK and more countries.
Some features will be limited by Pallo’s API providers in certain regions. If your country or region is not available it’s likely that the Pallo team is still getting their heads around regulation on open banking there. They will in time start figuring out regulation, data providers and language localisation. They will need more resources and probably capital for that. So, it is early days for their product’s global domination, but they are thinking about it.
That said, you can book a 15-minute slot to have a chat with Adiraj and book a demo to see how the app will work where you live now or plan to live in say six months time.
You can check out Pallo here on your phone or desktop