David Baga is going to get a new paycheck, which is okay with everything.
Even an “on-demand” start-up that “equalizes” workers’ paychecks to give them financial stability and flexibility, will announce later this morning that Baga will join the company as new CEO effective March 1. , replacing co-founder and current CEO Jon Schlossberg. Schlossberg will remain with the company full time as executive chairman.
Baga was most recently at Lightspeed Venture Partners, the leading venture capital firm he joined in late 2019 as COO. Prior to Lightspeed, Baga was Commercial Director at Lyft and Revenue Director at RocketLawyer.
Even was founded in 2014 by Schlossberg and a coterie of other co-founders whose mission was to disrupt the payday lending industry with better tools for workers who are increasingly living paycheck to paycheck. . Workers who are fired from a shift, for example, often have to scramble to meet their upcoming financial obligations, forcing them to take out usurious payday loans. The Even product was designed to give workers better visibility and control over their paycheck, offering tools like Instapay that provide an advance on their future earnings. Notably, Even is working on a subscription model designed to align its incentives with its worker-users to avoid the predatory practices that plague the industry.
I last covered the company in 2018 when it raised a $ 40 million Series B from Keith Rabois, who was then at Khosla Ventures. Even has had significant traction, reaching 650,000 members today according to the company, and most notably, it has an extended partnership with Walmart, which this week announced it was raising the salaries of 425,000 of its in-store associates, or about a third of its workforce. Even said that 53% of its members use the product daily.
Schlossberg says if the company has had significant success in creating a high-quality product, it needs to focus more on revenue growth. “I’m a CEO that’s very product-driven and what we needed in the zero-to-one phase,” he said, referring to the concept of product-to-market fit. But, “I’m not a business growth CEO. This opportunity and problem deserves someone who can massively increase the likelihood of [Even] as ubiquitous as 401K. “
He said the company had started looking for an COO to add corporate sales experience to the management team, but arrived empty-handed. “So we offered the best position to get better candidates, and we did it and we found David,” he said.
For Baga, Even’s story is part of its own past. I ‘grew up with a lot of first generation blue collar workers – I can relate to even in many [ways], “he said. He migrated to the Valley during the dot-com bubble, taking various sales jobs at companies like Oracle. His first start-up experience was at RocketLawyer when it was only 20 people.” RockertLayer was aiming for to make legal services affordable for all Americans, ”a mission that resonated with Baga.
From there, he said he finally partnered with Logan Green and John Zimmer in 2012, while they still operated Zimride, and that he would eventually join the rebranded company Lyft in 2015 when they ” envisioned a B2B version with large companies ”. He has worked on corporate and city partnerships as well as Lyft Health, a ridesharing product designed for non-emergency medical transportation.
Baga says he wanted to stay in smaller organizations, and as Lyft went public and grew to gargantuan size, he wanted to relocate to a smaller company. He eventually landed at Lightspeed as the company’s COO.
Baga hesitated on our call to describe his stint at Lightspeed or his reasoning for leaving after a year and a half. Notably, Even is not a Lightspeed portfolio company. Instead, he connected with Schlossberg as Even ramped up his search for a CEO and found that there was “a strong alignment of values” and that “they are dealing with real pain points … but with a fair business model. ”
In an email later, Baga said: “It has been a privilege to work with Lightspeed Ventures and I will always be grateful for the opportunity to be part of such a fantastic organization. At Lightspeed, I had a front row seat for entrepreneurs who shared their vision to change the world. They inspired me to answer the call to rebuild.
Taking the reins on March 1, Baga said his top priorities are “to help the team get to know me, understand customers and our prospects, and understand the roadmap and product strategy.” Schlossberg said Even already had “a list of reputable, referable clients across all employment verticals” and “now is the time to scale it up.” As Baga moves on to the role, Schlossberg said the company is likely to lift a Series C round “later this year.”
Precariousness isn’t going to go away anytime soon in America, but as last year has shown, there are tools that can help more workers find resilience in the work they do. Even’s hope is that a well-built machine for improving wages can be quickly developed to make a difference in this economy.