Build-Your-Own payroll infrastructure company Zeal raises $13M Series A

Zeal, an embedded fintech company developing individualized payroll building products, announced a $13 million Series A led by Spark Capital, according to TechCrunch.

The round brings Zeal’s total funding to $14.6 million, including a $1.6 million seed round in 2020. The company says it will use the funding to continue building out its team and strengthen compliance tactics to continue ensuring success with enterprises.

“We are starting to win more enterprise deals and moving millions of dollars each day. This has been a legacy space for so long, so companies want to work with a provider to move fast,” CEO and founder Kirti Shenoy told TechCrunch.

The round also included participation from Commerce Ventures and angel investors including: Marqeta CEO Jason Gardner and CRO Omri Dahan, Robinhood founder Vlad Tenev, Namely founder Matt Straz, and UltimateSoftware executives Mitch Dauerman and Bob Manne.

Founded in 2018 by Shenoy and CTO Pranab Krishnan, Zeal started as payment processing startup Puzzl, which served the gig economy and took part in Y Combinator’s 2019 initiative.

The company switched lanes when it went to move thousands of its contractors to W2 employee status, and found that existing payroll processors that were able to handle the high volumes of payroll automatically were unable to include daily payments or customized earning capabilities.

Since then, Zeal has been developing payroll API infrastructure that allows clients and customers to build customized payroll products with trackable, back-end logistic capabilities. Its newest product, Abacus, enables payroll companies’ gross-to-net calculations and ensures income tax compliance.

“To me, it is a no-brainer that APIs provide flexibility in the way wages and deductions need to be made. You can lose trust in your employer. Payroll is at the deepest trust point and where you want transparency and a robust solution to solve that need,” Spark Capital partner Natalie Sandman told TechCrunch.

Zeal is currently launched in all 50 US states and territories, allowing platforms to build and process their own payroll systems for W2 employees and 1099 contractors. The company says its goal is to touch every American’s paycheck with its tax and payment technology to ensure employees are paid correctly and efficiently.

In other recent fintech news, financial service infrastructure company pawaPay raised a $9 million seed round in a push to unify sub-Saharan’s mobile payment services. U.S. Bank also announced becoming a limited partner in two venture capital firms, Fin Venture Capital and Commerce Ventures.

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