This is a story about more than just a startup or a new product to launch to market. It is a story that brings to life the true essence of coworking – one proves that there is an underlying power to the pillar of ‘collaboration’ that serves as a cornerstone to any coworking space.
The three came from very different professional spheres – Zagury practiced law, Avisar worked in UX/UI and digital product management, and Levy in international marketing.
By chance, Levy and Zagury ended up as office neighbors on Mindspace Ahad Ha’am and quickly befriended Avisar, who was one of the first residents of the Mindspace Rothschild location.
Their friendship quickly turned into a quid-pro-quo relationship. Zagury provided legal guidance and counsel for his counterparts, Levy helped with marketing advice and Avisar with product design. Together, they started exploring what would come to be known as Salaryo – their new venture.
“We discovered that all of us freelancers were suffering from similar cash flow issues, and no good solution seemed to be in place,” they say. Existing credit products such loans and credit cards, they explain, don’t offer an adequate solution for freelancers, who have a volatile income.
“Freelancers need greater flexibility and smaller sums lended to them than what banks are willing to offer” says Levy. “Most banks out there offer you more money than you need because their high processing costs make it inefficient to offer small sums. People like us don’t need to get a 30K loan or to juggle between 3 or 4 credit cards – that just creates more debt.” What freelancers need, they explain, and what Salaryo is providing, is accessibility to small amounts of credit at any given moment.
Salaryo offers a flexible credit solution for millennial freelancers. The solution is simple, seamless, and fun. “Salaryo is introducing an innovative concept we call C-a-a-S: Credit-as-a-Service” says Levy. Salaryo users pay a small monthly fee, similar to other online services such as Dropbox or Photoshop. They are granted access to a flexible credit line from which they can withdraw as much as they need and repay when they can during a set period. The funds are wired to the user’s bank account on the same business day.
The platform uses a chat-based interface to ease the process of qualifying for credit. “We use a proprietary risk management model to evaluate the creditworthiness of Salaryo candidates” the founders explain.
When logging onto the Salaryo platform, a user will be prompted to communicate his request for a credit line via chat. “We want users to have the experience of chatting with a friend” the founders explain. Behind the scenes, Salaryo analyzes the freelancer financial and professional standings to determine whether said user is eligible or not for the requested credit. Anti-fraud and risk management measures are taken into consideration when making the call.
“We are targeting very specific customers” they explain. “Not everyone can get a credit line – we’re starting with creative professionals with a solid background, who live in an urban environment.” Yet while the Salaryo solution does serve freelancers best – it is not exclusive to the independent. “The product vision goes far beyond our personal experience,” they say.
Just this week, Salaryo completed the Barclays accelerator program powered by Techstars, located [very conveniently] in Rise, on the 4th floor of the Mindspace branch in which the three founders first met. For the past 3 months, the team has been focused on building the Salaryo product and working towards its coming launch in New York. “the Barclays-Techstars accelerator has been an amazing experience” they say. “We were exposed to great mentors from the local startup ecosystem, and are given access to valuable resources.”
Salaryo raised almost half a million dollars from angel investors during the program.
The Salaryo story is one that brings to life the true essence of coworking. It serves as an epitome to how inter-office collaboration, when done right, can give rise to something completely raw and new. “It was amazing to watch three people from three separate offices merge into one,” says Dan Zakai, Mindspace founder and CEO. Mindspace played a crucial role in the Salaryo journey: It saw three freelancers merge into one to create a new startup, and take it to launch with the help of an accelerator program located in the very same coworking space that originally brought the three freelancers together.
It really is a one-of-a-kind Cinderella story – in the coworking sense. Moral of the story: Befriend thy neighbor – you never what you may one day create together.