Pockit, the financial app for low income and underserved communities, has raised £8m ($10m) in a growth round led by Puma Private Equity.

The North East Development Capital Fund, managed by Maven Capital Partners and supported by the European Regional Development Fund, also participated in the raise.

Founded by CEO Virraj Jatania in 2015, Pockit is on a mission to serve the billions of people who have been left behind by traditional financial services.

Having started life as a prepaid card, Pockit now allows anyone – including the 20.2 million people across the UK who can’t access basic financial services – to open a current account in minutes.

They can send and receive money internationally, set up direct debits, deposit and withdraw cash in 27,000 stores across the UK, make online and in-store purchases, and even get an advance on their salary, should an unexpected expense arrive.

Since launch, Pockit’s user base has grown to more than 800k people, largely through word of mouth, and has processed $5bn across 73 million transactions.

The current funding round takes the total raised by the company to $50m and the money will be used to continue expanding its customer base and diversifying its product suite.

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Pockit is currently available in the UK but has ambitions to become the global financial champion for the underserved.

Virraj Jatania, CEO and founder of Pockit said: “For too long, low-income and underserved communities have been let down and left behind by financial services.

“At Pockit, we’re committed to not only opening doors for these people, but giving them the tools and support they need to feel financially empowered.

“It’s a problem that has been growing for years, and in the wake of the current economic climate, it’s only set to become more entrenched and more devastating for millions.

“We want to be the financial champion for those who need it most and this funding allows us to continue being there for even more people in many more ways.”

Kelvin Reader, investment director at Puma Private Equity, said: “In the current economic climate it is more important than ever to support underserved communities and help low-income customers feel seen and supported.

“We believe Pockit’s services will become increasingly important in addressing financial exclusion across the UK and beyond and we see tremendous potential thanks to its tech-powered, partnership-led approach and the fact its customers and its needs are so core to everything it does.

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“We see huge potential in the business. It has a highly scalable business model, and this investment continues our track record of supporting companies with growth potential.”

David Nixon, senior investment manager of Maven, said: “We’re delighted to participate in Pockit’s latest funding round. The business has developed a disruptive FinTech platform genuinely improving the experience for vulnerable customers and promoting financial inclusion.

“Our initial investment enabled the business to open a Newcastle base, joining the city’s thriving digital cluster, and we look forward to working with Virraj and the local team to continue to build out their North East presence as the company continues its exciting growth journey.”