David Baga joins Even as CEO to accelerate growth

Baga charged with making "earned wage access" as ubiquitous among Fortune 500 companies as the 401(k)

Jon Schlossberg believes his Oakland, California-based fintech, Even, has built a “better mousetrap” — a workplace benefit that helps workers avoid living paycheck to paycheck. Now, he hopes Even’s new CEO will add some cheese, if you will, to that mousetrap – and accelerate growth for the “earned wage access” product.

David Baga, most recently the chief operating officer of Silicon Valley VC firm Lightspeed Venture Partners, on March 1 took the CEO reins from Schlossberg. Schlossberg, co-founder of Even, remains at the company as executive chairman.

Baga comes to Even — the operator of an on-demand-pay platform — with an impressive resume. Aside from his tenure at Lightspeed, Baga is former chief business officer at ride-sharing company Lyft and former chief revenue officer at Rocket Lawyer, an online provider of legal services.

Baga’s credentials align with Even’s credentials. Among its customers are Noodles & Co., Walmart and PayPal. Investors include Founders Fund; Valar Ventures; PayPal Ventures, PayPal’s investment arm; and Marc Benioff, founder, chairman and CEO of Salesforce, a provider of customer relationship management (CRM) software. Even has raised more than $50 million since being founded in 2014, according to Crunchbase.

Baga joins Even at a time of rising interest in earned wage access services:

  • In a 2020 survey taken by HR software provider Ceridian, 60% of workers who had recently struggled to cover expenses between paychecks said they’d be better off financially if their employers offered earned wage access.
  • Market research provider Gartner predicts that by 2023, at least one-fifth of companies that employ mostly hourly workers will offer some type of on-demand pay.
  • Bloomberg Tax reported last June that about one-fourth of payroll professionals believe on-demand pay is a must-have benefit for employees.

It’s now Baga’s job to promote Even’s earned wage access — on-demand pay coupled with budgeting and savings tools — to payroll professionals, workers and others. Today, Even boasts more than 650,000 active members.

“We already have the best product in the market and the widest adoption. We also have data showing a strong correlation between app usage and higher retention,” Baga says. “We just need to get the word out to the country’s largest employers that we can help them build a more financially resilient workforce while helping to reduce employee turnover and improve productivity.”

Even’s employs more than 90 people, and Baga says the workforce expands by the week.

“Even is poised for tremendous growth in the years to come,” he says. “We have a product that is loved by the people who use it, and we are making a measurable difference in employee productivity, retention and loyalty at some of the country’s largest and most forward-thinking companies.”

Schlossberg puts stock in Baga’s ability to shepherd that growth in an effort to become as ubiquitous among Fortune 500 companies as the 401(k). “On paper, David is a phenomenal fit for Even: He has a track record of partnering with human resources leaders to offer innovative benefits to employees,” Schlossberg wrote on the Even blog.

Earned wage access has been a major point of focus across the fintech landscape, as companies like Lili, Galileo Instant and Gig Wage help companies power faster payments to gig workers, and companies like Gusto prioritize earn wage access on the product roadmap.

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