Many consumers use their credit cards to rack up rewards to be used toward travel.
But what if you’re a sports fan, and using your credit card could lead to a virtual conversation with a player on your favorite team? Thanks to San Francisco-based Cardless, that opportunity may be less of a stretch than you think.
The startup, which is out to give brands and tech companies a way to launch custom co-branded credit cards, has raised $40 million in a Series B funding round led by Activant Capital. Other investors include the owners and management of the Phoenix Suns and Boston Celtics and existing backers such as Accomplice and Pear VC. The financing brings the two-year-old company’s total raised since its 2019 inception to $50 million. Accomplice and Greycroft co-led its $7 million Series A last June.
Put simply, Cardless aims to help consumer brands launch credit cards “very quickly and easily” by handling the program creation, card underwriting, lending, issuance and customer service for brands. 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 is out to modernize the whole concept of co-branded credit card programs. Of the 200 that exist in the U.S. today, only one is from a company that is less than two decades old, according to Cardless’ co-founder and president Michael Spelfogel.
“There are close to 200 brands with traditional cards but they are often old legacy businesses such as Costco and Sam’s,” he told TechCrunch. “We want to connect folks with brands they love most, and elevate fans’ relationships with those brands.”