Osu, a payment app for the UK’s self-employed, has closed a £2.25 million seed round.
Led by early-stage experts Creandum, it will fund further growth as the start-up plans to reach 10,000 customers this year.
Launched in 2020 by co-founders Noam Nevo, Daniel Scott and Alon Zion, Osu is transforming the way the self-employed accept and manage their payments through its seamless and intuitive app.
Allowing users to accept instant payments from their customers with zero transaction fees, London-based Osu removes the traditional pain points many self-employed individuals experience when getting paid, such as high fees, settlement delays, hidden costs, error-prone bank transfers and late customer payments.
With more than four million self-employed professionals in the UK, Osu says it spotted a gap in the market for a payment support app that could simplify the day-to-day hassle of getting paid by customers and eliminate transaction fees.
Unlike traditional payment solutions, users can sign up to Osu and get started within two minutes. Users send a payment request by entering their customer’s name, phone number, and the amount owed.
The customer receives an SMS and pays by clicking a link, selecting their bank, and then approving the payment instantly within their own banking app.
Since launching, Osu has worked with more than 1,000 self-employed professionals, helping them accept hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of payments.
Noam Nevo, co-founder and CEO of Osu, said: “We know from speaking to our users that one of the biggest challenges they face is the ability to manage their payment-related admin tasks effectively and efficiently, whilst also growing their services and attracting more customers.
“At a time when the self-employed are already taking a hit due to the pandemic, reducing the cost of getting paid and making the process much faster is becoming increasingly important.
“This is where Osu comes in. The app is designed to be the payment PA that the self-employed simply can’t afford to hire – automating tasks such as sending invoices, accepting payments, chasing customers and staying on top of it all.
“What’s more, we charge no transaction fees meaning Osu users get 100% of every sale they make, and everything is done instantly meaning they aren’t left waiting several days to receive their money.”
Initially focusing on payments and invoicing, Osu will be introducing a host of new business management features over the coming months to further simplify operations for the self-employed – including direct communication with customers, calendar integrations, booking and scheduling, and the creation of mini-sites to help users generate an online presence.
The latest round of funding was led by early-stage specialists Creandum, alongside Ada Ventures, Breega, Firstime, Amelia and Ulysses. Osu has also received backing from a series of prolific Angel investors including Charles Delingpole of ComplyAdvantage, Will Neale of Grabyo and Michael Pennington of Gumtree.
Johann Brenner, Creandum, said: “At Creandum, we like to see companies that are not forcing merchants to radically use a different infrastructure but facilitate more, easier, and faster business and hence becoming an obvious choice for customers.
“Open banking will enable payment disruption for small merchants much like we saw iZettle do that. With Osu, we have found the Swiss Army knife for sole traders and couldn’t be more excited to support the team on their journey to become the No. 1 payment app for the self-employed.”
Check Warner, Partner Ada Ventures, said: “At Ada, we invest in groundbreaking companies tackling overlooked groups (see Sirona story above).
“The self-employed have long been overlooked, despite the fact that there are four million of them in the UK alone. Osu’s technology is built specifically for them, helping them take payments, interact with customers and manage their businesses through their phones.
“We’re pleased to be backing Osu to deepen their product and help more business owners across the UK and beyond.”
Charles Delingpole, founder and CEO of ComplyAdvantage, said: “Payments technology for many pandemic-afflicted sole traders has been in the dark ages for too long.
“The Osu platform promises to revolutionise how the back-bone of the economy transact, account for and manage their critical expenses and cash-flow. Osu has built a fantastic product and team and this fundraise will accelerate this growth and ensure their continued success.”
Will Neale, founder of Grabyo, said: “I was impressed with Osu from the outset. Its technology is providing a unique solution to a lot of time consuming and frustrating issues surrounding payment transactions that thousands of self-employed individuals have to navigate every day.
“The brand also has a clear roadmap for developing other business management solutions that will, no doubt, also prove invaluable to solo business leaders.”
The investment will be used to further Osu’s growth and support the development of new product features and services, activate a series of digital and offline marketing campaigns and bolster the Osu team with new hires.