Dealflow | February 22, 2021

Promise raises $20 million to help people pay essential bills

Roodgally Senatus
ImpactAlpha Editor

Roodgally Senatus

ImpactAlpha, February 22 — One out of every 10 Americans are struggling to keep up with their monthly bills as a result of the financial stress caused by COVID, a recent study shows.

Oakland, Calif.-based Promise has created a digital payment platform that makes it easier for people to pay essentials bills and dues to the government, such as utilities, child support, parking tickets and other fines.

“Right now, in America, it is easier to buy a state-of-the-art exercise bike than to keep your water on,” said Promise’s Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins

The female-led fintech partners with government agencies and utility companies to simplify payment systems for customers, as well as help them secure payment relief. It partnered with the Louisville Water Company to deliver over $4 million in payment assistance and resolve more than 5,000 past due accounts for the company’s customers.


The Series A round was led by Kapor Capital and XYZ Venture Capital. Bronze Venture Fund, First Round Capital, Y Combinator and other existing investors also participated.

Promise has raised over $30 million to date. In 2018, it raised $3 million to help defendants appear at court dates, undergo drug testing and treatments, get to classes and meet other obligations (see, Jay-Z and Kapor Capital join $3 million financing of Promise”).

Kapor Capital’s Mitch Kapor said Promise is “out to change the way the government interacts with constituents at a time where it matters more than ever.