SAN FRANCISCO — Slash, an online banking platform, has emerged from stealth with $19 million in seed and Series A funding. The seed and Series A rounds were led by NEA with additional participation from Menlo Ventures, Connect Ventures, Y Combinator, Soma Capital, Global Founders Capital, with participation from angel investors William Hockey, the founder of Plaid, and Justin Mateen, co-founder and former CMO of Tinder.
The co-founders of Slash — Victor Cardenas and Kevin Bai — are college dropouts from Stanford University and The University of Waterloo. Together, they saw an early opportunity to build an online banking solution catered to young, commerce-focused entrepreneurs.
An early iteration of their fintech product provided a way for consumers to create shareable virtual cards to split recurring expenses.
The product became popular overnight among teenage dropshippers on Discord, who flocked to Slash because its virtual cards were debit-based, available to users 13 or older, and did not limit spend based on credit history. These teenagers didn’t use Slash to split expenses like Netflix and Spotify (the product’s intended use case), and instead creatively leveraged it to fulfill more customer orders than they could otherwise.
At that point, the two knew there was a bigger idea to build better financial software for this underserved population, leading Cardenas and Bai to officially launch today’s version of Slash in 2021.
A study from Microsoft shows that almost two-thirds (62%) of the Gen Z population have mentioned wanting to start their own business, and 48% have multiple side hustles. Slash’s fintech model success showcases a shift in the perspectives of young entrepreneurs toward conventional financial institutions. It suggests that strategies for growth, trust-building, and retention that have proven effective in the past may not be equally fruitful in the future.
Slash serves its customers throughout the entire business journey—from inception all the way to scale. Today, Slash users span from teenagers under 18 just starting their first side hustle to large e-commerce businesses that spend millions of dollars per month. Slash customers make money in many ways, including:
- Running paid online communities on Discord and Telegram
- Making and monetizing Roblox games
- Engaging in online arbitrage on Amazon
- Reselling sneakers on StockX, GOAT, and in-person conferences like GotSole
“There’s a rapidly growing group of very young entrepreneurs that’s been completely overlooked by traditional financial institutions and every other fintech company,” said Victor Cardenas, co-founder of Slash. “For people with side hustles, having a dedicated business bank account that is separate from their personal one is helpful. However, constantly sending money between accounts at different banks can be a hassle (and can take up to 5 business days). Our product lets you easily create and manage both a personal and business bank account in one place, making it a great choice for self-employed people.”
Today, over 20,000 entrepreneurs have opted to bank with Slash.
“We are excited to support Slash’s mission to create a zero-friction banking experience for the hustle economy,” said Rick Yang, General Partner and Head of Consumer at NEA. “Victor, Kevin, and team have created a unique approach to bridging the gap between personal and business banking. Their focus on serving the needs of the next generation of entrepreneurs is impressive, and we look forward to seeing their continued growth and success.”
Slash uses leading data encryption, firewalls and server authentication technologies to protect the security of users’ data. Users must be over the age of 13 to sign up, and those under 18 must have a legal guardian participate in account setup. Guardians have a specialized view of the user’s account with full control, and can track and make changes at any point.
In addition to building a world-class banking platform, Slash aims to become a legal and financial one-stop shop to help young entrepreneurs run all aspects of their business—including incorporation, invoicing, automated bookkeeping, and tax management.