Daylight, an LGBTQ+ neobank, is raising money to launch a family planning subscription plan

A day after a bill that would codify same-sex marriage in the US cleared a key hurdle in the Senate, Daylight, a digital bank that bills itself as LGBTQIA+ friendly, closed a $15 million Series A round led by Anthemis Group with participation from CMFG Ventures, Kapor Capital, Citi Ventures and Gaingels.

Daylight co-founder and CEO Rob Curtis says the new capital will be used, in his words, to “build financial products and services to help queer people live their best lives” — starting with a subscription plan called Daylight Grow, designed to help future queer families with financial planning.

“There are over 30 million LGBTQ+ Americans with roughly $1 trillion in spending power, and yet the community lacks access to the suite of products and services they need to live their best lives,” Curtis said in an email interview with TechCrunch. “Daylight was created with a single mission: to build financial products and services to help queer people live their best lives.”

Curtis launched Daylight with Billy Simmons, a trans woman, and Paul Barnes-Hoggett in early 2020. Prior to starting Daylight, Curtis worked for several organizations supporting LGBTQ+ lifestyles and causes, including Gaydar, a gay dating site and bisexual men. He also co-founded Squad Social and Helsa Helps, startups aiming to improve access to mental health for members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Daylight is part of a wave of recent neobanks—bank-like fintech companies that operate online without physical branch networks—organized around ambitious causes and missions. Rapper Killer Mike’s Greenwood aims to help black and Latino communities build wealth for generations. Majority, which launched the same year as Greenwood (2020), aims to build banking tools and resources for immigrants. Purpose Banking, Aspiration and One pledge to never allow deposits to finance fossil fuels.

Daylight

Image Credits: Daylight

With the wealth of ethical fintech companies, why find a neobank for LGBTQ+ people? According to Curtis, most mainstream banking products are simply not designed with US-based queer people in mind. (Pride Bank, a neobank with similarly quirky branding, is based in Brazil.) For example, Daylight provides debit cards with customer-selected names that don’t always match what’s on their ID. It offers members 10% cash back every time they spend on a quirky and related business that Daylight partners with. And it offers targeted goals for gender-affirming procedures like top surgery and facial feminization.

In addition to cash management features like a checking account, free ATMs and the ability for members to get paid two days early, Daylight hosts communities where customers can ask questions about “weird financial literacy” like family planning , in what Curtis claims is a safe and supportive environment.

“Our mission at Daylight has always been to break down the financial barriers that hold LGBTQ+ people back… In this post-Dobbs world, Daylight’s commitment to supporting queer families has never been more necessary,” Curtis said, referring to the Supreme Court case court that legalized abortion bans in the US and opened the door to legal challenges to marriage equality.

Of course, members of the LGBTQ+ community face fiscal challenges that many cisgender, heterosexual adults never face. Some suffer the consequences of being kicked out of their homes by non-adopting parents. Others find themselves on the hook for HIV/AIDS treatment, hormone therapy and infertility procedures. Most queer people gravitate to expensive urban areas because they’re more accepting and progressive, and many queer people don’t have a safety net—either because they lack family support or don’t have children to care for.

For these reasons and more, LGBTQ+ people often earn less, live in poverty and have less retirement savings than their cisgender counterparts. The situation for transgender people is particularly dire, with the poverty rate for the transgender community in the US averaging around 30% – close to double rate of cisgender adults — according to a 2019 study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law. Transgender people are too twice as likely to be unemployed and four times more likely to have a household income under $10,000; the US federal poverty rate in 2021 was $12,880.

The aforementioned Daylight Grow isn’t a cure-all, but it does address the major hurdles many queer couples face when starting a family. This is a significant portion of Daylight’s customers. A recent study by the Council for Family Equality found that nearly two-thirds of LGBTQ millennials – 63% – are considering becoming parents for the first time or expanding their family.

Daylight

Image Credits: Daylight

When the product launches in early 2023, Simmons says Daylight Grow will offer a personalized “family plan” covering financial, legal and logistical milestones tailored to individual circumstances and needs, “family planning concierges” who to provide financial advice and logistical support, a “family building marketplace” with vetted networks of family lawyers and referrals for IVF and surrogacy clinics, as well as personal financial and fertility education events.

“Starting a family is a big life event for queer people, and the challenges we face are increasingly more complex than those for non-LGBTQ people,” Simmons told TechCrunch via email. “The launch of Daylight Grow will help queer people navigate the complex legal and financial challenges of starting a family, make it faster and easier to start a family, and unlock critical intergenerational wealth for our community.”

Daylight Grow will also offer access to family-building loans, a potential game-changer for queer customers who have faced discrimination from traditional banks. According to 2019 studysame-sex borrowers were 73% more likely to be denied a mortgage or to be approved for a mortgage at a higher-than-average interest rate.

Daylight plans to offer hundreds of free Grow subscriptions to marginalized, low-income families in states where LGBTQ+ rights are under serious legal attack, Curtis said. Which states — and Grow prices — are still being decided.

Daylight has raised $20 million in capital to date. Curtis would not answer questions about revenue and hiring plans, preferring, at least for now, to keep the focus on the company’s core mission.

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