Fintech Startup Grain Wants to Change How Consumers View Credit

Grain gives users access to a line of credit based on their financial behavior rather than their credit score.

Written by Cassidy Ritter
Published on Jun. 29, 2022
Fintech Startup Grain Wants to Change How Consumers View Credit
Grain co-founders Carl Memnon (left), Christian Joseph (center) and Patrick De Suza (right). | Photo: Grain
Grain co-founders Carl Memnon (left), Christian Joseph (center) and Patrick De Suza (right). | Photo: Grain

Sure the latest initiatives from the Teslas, Apples and Googles of the industry tend to dominate the tech news space — and with good reason. Still, the tech titans aren’t the only ones bringing innovation to the sector.

In an effort to highlight up-and-coming startups, Built In launched The Future 5 across 11 major U.S. tech hubs. Each quarter, we will feature five tech startups, nonprofits or entrepreneurs in each of these hubs who just might be working on the next big thing. You can check out last quarter’s San Francisco round-up here.

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With inflation and interest rates rising, credit card debt in America is nearing an all-time high. In the first three months of the year, credit card balances climbed to $841 billion, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and are expected to continue rising. As consumers grapple with day-to-day purchases and credit card debt, one local startup hopes to help.

Oakland-based Grain gives users access to a revolving line of credit based on their current financial behavior rather than relying on a credit score that is indicative of past mistakes. After downloading the Grain app, users link their primary checking account, and then the startup analyzes their cash flow. A revolving line of credit is offered in minutes, according to the company. With a new line of credit, users swipe their existing debit card as they normally would when purchasing gas, groceries and other goods. 

“As the economy continues to fluctuate, so will cash flow. By providing a line of credit based on cash flow, the credit lines will be better suited to each individual’s lifestyle and spending habits, rather than being far too high for what they could realistically be able to pay off,” Christian Joseph, Grain CEO and co-founder, told Built In via email. 

Joseph said this approach helps users mitigate the risk of falling into debt and empowers them to shop for what they need and build good credit along the way. 

Grain’s platform also enables users to transfer credit to their checking account within seconds, according to the company. Not only that, but once said credit is transferred, it’s immediately available to withdraw.

Grain will provide anyone with access to credit based on current financial behavior rather than past mistakes.”

Joseph co-founded Grain in 2017 with Carl Memnon, the company’s COO, and Patrick De Suza, Grain’s CTO. 

“As immigrants or first-generation U.S. citizens, we also had our own personal experiences with obtaining credit that weren’t positive, which led us to the current credit system and experiencing first-hand how it truly is not equitable for everyone,” Joseph said. “Grain will provide anyone with access to credit based on current financial behavior rather than past mistakes.”

The startup aims to bridge the gap between current credit systems and those who are unable to access a line of credit. Since launching, Grain has provided credit to more than 150,000 users, but its goal extends beyond providing funds. 

“Ultimately, Grain wants to replace the credit card,” Joseph said. “We want to change the mindset of how consumers approach credit and empower users to have a confident sense of control over their spending in order to still partake in a system that is the basis of so many essential purchases allowing people to live their dreams.”

Grain has raised $180,000 in venture capital financing to date, according to Crunchbase. It is currently on the lookout for fresh faces to join its team and is now hiring a remote customer support specialist and data scientist. 

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Jeremy Porr contributed reporting to this story.

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