YC alum Keeper raises $1.6M to help gig workers pay taxes

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Yearly round this time, Uber drivers, Wag canine walkers, Hen scooter chargers, social media influencers and different gig financial system staff face the ugly problem of paying their taxes.

Corporations like Uber and Lyft classify their drivers as unbiased contractors, which suggests you aren’t given any advantages and the corporate doesn’t withhold any of your taxes. This places gig staff in a troublesome place come tax day, particularly in the event that they aren’t ready to shell out huge sums to the IRS.

Keeper, a startup that’s simply graduated from the Y Combinator startup accelerator, is right here to make taxes rather a lot simpler for that demographic and to save lots of them as a lot cash as potential.

Based by childhood buddies and former debate companions Paul Koullick and David Kang, the San Francisco-based firm has raised $1.65 million on a $10 million valuation in a spherical led by Jake Jolis of Matrix Companions.

Keeper co-founders Paul Koullick (left) and David Kang

The pair entered YC this winter with an enormous concept and little to point out for it. Come March, that they had developed a full-fledged product and collected 200 paying clients. With their first spherical of funding, they plan so as to add to their small however rising workforce and purchase 10,000 clients within the subsequent 18 months.

“There are some corporations which might be making an attempt to go very broad and making an attempt to cowl the entire spectrum of advantages; we’re simply making an attempt to go actually deep on taxes,” Kang advised TechCrunch. “This can be a ache level. That is the place individuals are undoubtedly leaving probably the most cash on the desk.”

Keeper guesses the typical gig employee within the U.S. is overpaying their taxes by greater than 20 %, or about $1,550 for these making greater than $25,000 per yr. Why? As a result of these unbiased contractors aren’t claiming the tax write-offs obtainable to them, like telephone payments, automotive upkeep charges and even a Spotify subscription for drivers.

“For those who’re a canine walker, there are such a lot of issues you might want to be writing off, like your poop luggage, your additional leashes, your parking,” Koullick advised TechCrunch. “This inhabitants wants the steerage of an accountant, however they will’t afford one and we’re making an attempt to create this third choice.”

Like a private accountant, Keeper screens gig staff’ bills all yr looking for attainable tax deductions, saving every consumer $173 per thirty days on common, it estimates. The startup makes use of Plaid to comply with its clients’ transaction historical past, and as soon as per day sends a textual content message asking if there are any tax write-offs to notice. Over time, it will get smarter and smarter, retaining the SMS inquiries to a minimal.

Keeper doesn’t absolutely file taxes for 1099 staff but, however will start providing a quarterly tax submitting service in June. Subsequent yr, it plans to supply a full-year tax-filing service.

Koullick, Keeper’s chief government officer, labored in product at Sq. earlier than becoming a member of one other startup, referred to as Stride, the place he constructed and scaled Stride Tax, a mileage and expense-tracking app. Kang, for his half, has spent most of his post-graduate profession at a buying and selling agency in Chicago, targeted on quantitative modeling. The 2 toyed with a number of startup concepts earlier than touchdown on Keeper’s tax enterprise.

“We needed to construct one thing that really mattered to actual individuals,” Koullick defined. “And we needed to do it within the monetary area the place we have been pleased to wade by means of ugly particulars and techniques on their behalf.”

Keeper isn’t the one current YC alum targeted on the rising gig financial system. One other, Catch, sells medical insurance, retirement financial savings plans and tax-withholding providers on to freelancers, contractors or anybody uncovered. Given the speedy rise of Uber and different gig platforms, it’s no marvel YC startups are tapping into the varied enterprise alternatives obtainable there.

“We’re prepared to deal with a few of these subjects which might be sort of boring and mundane and actually intensive,” Kang added. “Like the typical individual doesn’t need to take into consideration taxes or filling out varieties. We noticed that as a chance for us to step in and be like, hey, we’ll take it.”

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