Today we are pleased to announce an investment in Osu, the payment and financing solution for the UK’s self-employed. Ada Ventures is investing alongside Creandum, Breega and Will Neale, Michael Pennington and Charlie Delingpole in Osu’s £2.25million seed round.
Part of our mission at Ada is to broaden access to and understanding of venture capital. As part of this, we wanted to share some thoughts on what Osu is, why we invested and how it happened.
What was the process that led to investment?
- We were introduced to Daniel and Noam by Ari Last, the co-founder of Bubble, one of Ada’s portfolio companies in September 2020.
- We were immediately excited by the value proposition of Osu and the fit with one of our main themes — empowering underserved and overlooked customers and giving these customers more control and agency.
Why does Osu fit the Ada thesis and what got us excited?
- Osu is tackling an overlooked and underserved market. This is the self-employed, sole-trader and micro SME market. These customers have to hack together tools to run their businesses that are clunky, expensive and typically designed for bigger companies. Osu has built a product designed for these customers from the ground up. Moreover, these customers are often people who struggle to access traditional employment, either because they left education early, or they face bias in the recruitment process, or because a 9–5 job isn’t possible alongside caring responsibilities. Access to entrepreneurship often means access to economic empowerment that is otherwise unavailable to them. We get excited about businesses that create ‘business in a box’ solutions for these groups, which is why we’re invested in companies like Huboo and Organise. Both in different ways empowering individuals to have more agency and control over how they work and make money.
- Osu is tackling a huge, global problem. Osu provides the essential infrastructure to power the explosion in entrepreneurship. There are currently 4 million self-employed professionals in the UK and 33 million across Europe. This number is rising rapidly as entrepreneurship becomes more accessible to a broader range of people. The Covid-19 pandemic has only accelerated this trend. People all over the world are being either pushed from salaried jobs into entrepreneurship, or being pulled by the opportunity of gaining more control, agency and economic freedom through starting their own companies. The third quarter of 2020 was the highest quarter of new business applications registering with the US government since records began in 2004. There’s huge value in ‘prosumer’ solutions for micro businesses — for example Websites (Wix, Squarespace), point-of-sale (Square, iZettle), CMS (Shopify), but there are still many areas that require elegant solutions.
- The team are sharply product focused. Noam, Daniel and Alon have built an elegant and clever product, solving probably the most important pain point for their customers — getting paid. They understand this problem from all angles, having worked in payments at Paypal and been freelancers and self-employed themselves. Osu use open banking to make the experience of taking payments seamless, fast and free. We’ve been impressed with the speed of execution in the team and the obsession with building a product that customers would use daily.
- Customers love the product. Osu launched in the UK in September 2020 but already has a loyal user base. This is particularly impressive given how stretched the customers of these businesses are time poor and require products that ‘just work’ and make their lives 10x easier. “The Osu app is brilliant. My clients love how quick and secure it is for them to pay, and I love the fact that I get the money instantly along with a notification to my phone.” “Osu has been a game changer. It takes less than a minute to send a payment request and when the client pays, I receive the money into my bank account in seconds.”
We are looking forward to working closely with the Osu team as they deepen their product offering, build their team and reach more of their customers across the UK.