Ashton Kutcher’s VC backs FinTech service provider for self-employed Collective in new round

CA-based all-in-one back-office platform for self-employed people Collective gathered $20m in Series A funding.

The round, which brings total funding to $28.65m, was led by General Catalyst with participation from Dude, where’s my car actor Ashton Kutcher who pumped in money via Sound Ventures as well as existing investors Expa, QED Investors and Gradient Ventures.

Other notable investors include YouTube founder Steve Chen, Substack founder Hamish McKenzie, Box founder Aaron Levie, Twitch founder Kevin Lin, Patreon founder Sam Yam, Li Jin of Atelier Ventures, HoneyBook founder Shadiah Sigala, Forward founder Adrian Aoun, Holly Liu from Kabam, Andrew Dudum, Hims founder Andrew Dudum and LegalZoom founder Edward Hartman.

The company – which was launched less than a year ago in September 2020 – intends to use the funds to scale the business and build out the team. The new funding comes eight months after the San Francisco-based company raised $8.65m in seed investment.

Launched by CEO Hooman Radfar, CPO Ugur Kaner and CTO Bugra Akcay, Collective provides an online back office platform designed for businesses-of-one. The technology and team of advisors oversee everything from business incorporation and accounting, bookkeeping to tax services and access to a community in the same platform.

Radfar launched Collective to cater to the 59 million self-employed workers in the US who balance administrative tasks with building their business – a number projected to be 86.5 million by 2027. According to Upwork, nearly two million Americans started freelancing in the last year with almost 36% of the workforce now being businesses-of-one.

Radfar said that financial services should be made more accessible for the underserved self-employed people and Collective aims to bridge that gap in the industry. He added, “As entrepreneurs, we believe that access to world-class financial services shouldn’t be limited to the wealthy. As immigrants, we believe that it should be easier for people of all backgrounds to be their own boss. As people, we believe that technology can be used to make work easier for millions.”

Since its launch, the firm has already had nearly 20,000 founders apply for membership. It saved an average member over $16,000 annually in taxes, it claimed. In addition, the company’s revenue has grown by more than 250% in the past year.

Commenting on the firm’s new funding, That ’70s Show actor, Kutcher said in a statement: “We’re proud to be supporting a company that’s making it easier for creators to focus on what they do best by taking care of the back office work that creates so much friction for so many early entrepreneurs. I would have loved something like this when I was getting started.”

Sharing the bullish sentiment, General Catalyst managing director Niko Bonatsos added, “Collective is serving the $1.2tn business-of-one industry by building the first back-office platform that saves individuals significant time and money while providing them with the appropriate tools and resources they need to help them succeed. We’re excited to support Collective as they expand their team and build an exceptional service for the business-of-one community.”

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