San Francisco-based Cardless, developer of a platform for sports teams and other brands to create branded credit cards, raised $40m in a Series B funding round led by Activant Capital.
Other participants include Accomplice, Pear VC, and the owners and management of NBA teams Phoenix Suns and Boston Celtics. The funding increases the company’s total raised since its debut in 2019 to $50m including Accomplice and Greycroft-co-led $7m Series A last June.
Cardless intends to assist consumer brands in launching credit cards “quickly and easily” by managing program development, card underwriting, financing, issuance, and customer care.
The firm is attempting to revolutionise the notion of co-branded credit card programs as a whole. Of the 200 that exist in the US today, only one is from a company that is less than two decades old, according to Cardless’ co-founder and president Michael Spelfogel.
Cardless’ tailored rewards programs are targeted at very particular groups who appreciate brand value. This quarter, the startup launched three digital programs — with the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, British soccer team Manchester United and the Miami Marlins, a Major League Baseball team based in Florida.
The company plans to announce “several” more programs this year and says that it’s able to do so “in a matter of weeks” compared to traditional issuers, which can take months or more than a year to issue similar programs. Those reward programs include digital apps and numberless, virtual cards.
Traditional banks earned an estimated $150bn in income from consumer credit cards in 2019 but startups only received a small portion of that. By partnering with a bank issuer to enable easy card issuance and tailored digital credit programs for consumers of those businesses, Cardless hopes to assist brands and tech firms in capturing a greater share of the massive market.
Cardless’ capacity to power and execute “unique” credit card campaigns “for prominent and creative companies” barely two years after its debut pleased Andrew Steele of Activant.
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