Introducing TANDA: Bringing Financial Security Within Reach for Everyone

Nov 15, 2023

Jesse Chor

TANDA announces seed funding from Sequoia and Initialized Capital

We are thrilled to announce that TANDA has secured $4.5M in seed funding. This funding represents a significant milestone in our journey to address a pressing issue many businesses and employees are facing in the U.S.: financial insecurity.

Picture Taken Sept 1, 2023 Seattle, WA

We've all been there — eagerly approaching a favorite store or restaurant, only to be met with the jarring sight of a "Closed due to staffing issues" sign. This isn't just a fleeting inconvenience but a glaring testament to a deeper workforce and financial crisis. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's America Works initiative underscores the severity, pointing to a pressing imbalance: 8.8 million job openings contrasted with merely 6.3 million available workers[1].

The crux of this challenge may be more straightforward than it seems. A staggering 67% of Americans are ill-prepared to handle an unexpected $400 expense[2]. This financial vulnerability is not just about money; it's about the constant weight of financial uncertainty. The result? Burnout. When individuals are constantly worried about making ends meet, it's not just their financial health that suffers. Their mental and emotional well-being is compromised as well, leading to feelings of exhaustion and detachment from their jobs.

For SMB owners, attracting customers isn't the primary concern — it's ensuring there are enough staff members to meet the customers' needs. Steven Rosen, a seasoned restaurant owner and TANDA customer from Seattle, said it best: “The restaurant business is as much about people as it is about food. In these challenging times, retaining talent is everything." And the pathway to retaining that talent lies in offering them additional financial resources and fostering a culture of community and support.

This is where TANDA steps in. TANDA employs the ROSCA (Rotating Savings and Credit Association) model to enhance the financial health of SMB employees. Through collective savings, we nurture not only financial resilience but also community ties. This approach aids in retaining employees, reducing turnover, and minimizing burnout. Tandas[3], with roots dating back to 200 BC, involve participants contributing to a savings pool, with each member taking turns to receive the entire sum. This cycle reinforces mutual trust and collaboration, while our app ensures these transactions are conducted securely.

TANDA holds a special place in my heart, rooted in childhood memories. Every Saturday, my grandfather would take my cousins and I to Montreal's Chinatown to participate in their Tanda collective. Curious, I once asked him its purpose. He explained that as an immigrant, he lacked access to traditional banking services, loans, and credit. To secure seed funding for his restaurant, he relied on the community. Through a Tanda, they collectively supported him and countless others in launching their businesses. I’ll always have fond memories of playing in the community center as my uncles and aunties pooled their hard-won cash savings on the table and supported each other’s immigrant dreams.

Later in life, I was presented with an opportunity to implement a Tanda-inspired product at Yahoo. Together with my boss at the time, Simon Khalaf (who is now CEO of Marqueta and a TANDA advisor), we embarked on a project to rejuvenate the centuries-old concept of tandas as a mobile app. We were excited to pave the way for equitable financial access and foster community-driven entrepreneurship. With a small team, we launched the app inside of Yahoo and were amazed by its rapid growth. Despite its remarkable success, the app was deprioritized after Yahoo was acquired by AOL. Though I moved on to Splunk to lead mobile and AR products there, the question lingered in my mind of what could have been.

Earlier this year, I decided it was finally time to bring TANDA back to life. It’s still early days, but I have interviewed hundreds of customers and shipped our MVP app to the App Store a few weeks ago. Abdul Mohammad, a SMB mall worker from San Jose, is part of a Tanda group with friends dispersed across the U.S. He articulates its profound impact, stating, "A Tanda is not just about financial aid; it's a conduit for building community and fostering a sense of belonging. Our group of eight, spread across the U.S., uses what is termed as a 'Chit' in my native India — another variation of the Tanda — solidifying our bonds and preserving ties. Discovering TANDA was pure excitement for me! It not only streamlines the process but also removes the challenge of designating a reliable captain for each cycle to be responsible for managing and distributing funds. The app is groundbreaking, making the act of joining a Tanda seamless. I can't wait to share this with all my friends and family.”

To help accelerate our platform’s evolution, we raised $4.5M in seed funding from Initialized Capital and Arc, Sequoia Capital’s pre-seed and seed-stage catalyst. Sequoia partner Jess Lee said, “I’ve known Jesse since our Yahoo days and couldn’t think of anyone better to build a community and product that helps people achieve financial security. Not only is TANDA’s mission deeply personal to Jesse, he’s also a three-time founder who has experience in this space.”

"This is a great example of how technology can improve on a centuries-old concept like ROSCA - rotating savings and credit association - by building it out and scaling it," says Brett Gibson, managing partner at Initialized Capital. "We love meeting founders like Jesse who are not only technically skilled but also have a complete vision and deep focus on communities where ROSCAs will really impact day-to-day life. He had already created a successful ROSCA product at Yahoo with impressive numbers; investing in the business that came out of this was a clear choice.”

With our new funding, we're accelerating our platform's evolution and preparing to announce key roles vital for our broader expansion. More excitingly, we're already partnering with a selection of prestigious restaurants, brands, and companies to roll out our platform that's been designed to boost employee satisfaction, efficiency, and loyalty. As we continue to innovate, we're on the lookout for more early partners keen on joining this transformative journey. Interested parties are welcome to connect with us at info@mytanda.com.

At its core, TANDA isn’t just a financial platform; it's a catalyst for community building and empowerment. By offering a collective financial safety net, we enable coworkers to support one another in tangible, impactful ways. Dive in and be part of this transformative journey by joining our waitlist at www.mytanda.com.

Up next: Dive deeper into TANDA's community focus. Stay tuned!

TechCrunch unveils TANDA's story and seed funding success—see more.

  1. U.S. Chamber of Commerce. (2023, September 11). America Works Data Center. https://www.uschamber.com/workforce/america-works-data-center

  2. CNBC. (2023, January 25). Suze Orman: Americans short on emergency savings amid 'dangerous' scenario. https://www.cnbc.com/2023/01/25/suze-orman-americans-short-on-emergency-savings-amid-dangerous-scenario.html

  3. Tanda (informal loan club)," Wikipedia, last modified (2023, August 18)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanda_(informal_loan_club)

©2024 Tanda Technologies Inc., Patents Pending
©2024 Tanda Technologies Inc., Patents Pending
©2024 Tanda Technologies Inc., Patents Pending