David Baga, COO of Lightspeed, is moving to a start-up with prepayment, even as CEO


David Baga will get a new paycheck that fits all in all.

Even, an on-demand pay startup that “offsets” paychecks for employees to give them financial stability and flexibility, will announce this morning that Baga will become the first current CEO, Jon Schlossberg. Schlossberg will remain with the company as CEO full-time.

Baga was most recently at Lightspeed Venture Partners, the well-known VC firm he joined as Chief Operating Officer in late 2019. Prior to Lightspeed, Baga was Chief Business Officer at Lyft and Chief Revenue Officer at RocketLawyer.

Even was founded in 2014 by Schlossberg and a group of other co-founders focused on the mission of revolutionizing the payday loan industry with better tools for workers who are increasingly living from paycheck to paycheck. For example, workers laid off a shift often have to struggle to meet their upcoming financial obligations, forcing them to take out usurious payday loans. Even’s product is designed to give employees better visibility and control over their paychecks and offers tools like Instapay which offers an advance on the wages already earned. Most of all, Even works on a subscription model which aims to target its incentives to its worker-users in order 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, according to the company, it has had a significant pull, now reaching 650,000 members, and most importantly, it has an extensive partnership with Walmart that only announced this week that it will raise wages for 425,000 of its store employees, or about a third of the workforce. As many as 53% of its members use the product on a daily basis.

Schlossberg says that while the company has had considerable success developing a high quality product, it needs to focus more on sales growth. “I’m a very product-oriented CEO and that’s what we needed in the zero-to-one phase,” he said, referring to the concept of making the product market fit. But: “I’m not a CEO for corporate growth. This chance and problem deserves someone who can massively increase the likelihood of doing it [Even] as ubiquitous as 401 (k) s. “

He said the company started looking for a COO to add corporate selling experience to the executive team, but empty-handed. “So we offered the top job to get better candidates and we did and we found David,” he said.

For Baga, the Even story fits his own background. I grew up “with many first generation workers in Canada – in many cases I can even identify with” [ways]”He said. He migrated to the Valley during the dot-com bubble and took on various sales jobs at companies like Oracle. His first startup experience at RocketLawyer was when there were just 20 people.” RocketLawyer was about providing legal services to make it affordable for all Americans, ”a mission that was well received by Baga.

David Baga will join Even on March 1st as CEO. Photo via Even.

From there, he said he eventually teamed up with Logan Green and John Zimmer in 2012 when they were still running Zimride, and would eventually join renamed Lyft in 2015 when it was “considering a B2B version with large corporations.” 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 when Lyft went public and reached gigantic sizes, he wanted to return to a smaller company. He ended up at Lightspeed as the company’s COO.

Baga hesitated during our call to describe his time at Lightspeed or his reasons for leaving after a year and a half. In particular, Even is not a Lightspeed portfolio company. Instead, he contacted Schlossberg as Even accelerated his CEO search to find that there was a “strong value alignment” and that “they are addressing real vulnerabilities … but with a fair business model”.

In an email later, Baga stated, “It has been a privilege to work with Lightspeed Ventures and I will always be grateful to be part of such a fantastic organization. At Lightspeed I had a front row seat to entrepreneurs sharing their vision of changing the world. You inspired me to answer the call to rebuild. “

On March 1, Baga took the reins, saying his top priority was “helping the team get to know me, understand the customers and prospects, and understand the product roadmap and strategy”. Schlossberg said Even already has “a list of clients with a fairly solid benchmark across all employment verticals” and that “now is the time to scale them up”. As Baga takes on the role, Schlossberg said the company will likely pitch a Series C round “sometime this year”.

Precariousness is not going to go away anytime soon in America, but as the last year has shown, there are tools that can help more workers find resilience in their work. Even’s hope is that a well-built pay-enhancing machine can quickly expand to make a difference in this economy.

Updated February 22, 2021 to clarify that Instapay provides access to wages already earned, and not a wage advance on future income.

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