Deel makes over $120M of its own cash available to support customers affected by SVB crisis

Global payroll provider Deel plans to provide $120 million of its own cash off its balance sheet to support startups’ payroll operations in the wake of Silicon Valley Bank shutting down. It has teamed up with Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) and Y Combinator – both of which are investors in Deel – to offer the support to customers.

The Federal Reserve just announced that Silicon Valley Bank depositors, both insured and uninsured, will be fully protected - which led to collective relief throughout the tech ecosystem. Depositors were made whole as TechCrunch was interviewing Deel co-founder and CEO Alex Bouaziz, whose first reaction to the news was that: “We’ll see what happens, you can never be fully certain. But in the meantime, we're ready with our customers, and customers right now and whatever we can do to help we’ll be there.”

He later added: “It’s amazing that all depositors will be made whole. Until tomorrow morning when all the funds will be available, founders need to stay cautious and stay alert to ensure all employees get paid.”

Deel, notably, is not banked with SVB: Because it operates in over 100 countries, it has over 450 bank accounts and has an in-house treasury management. Deel paid a penalty, Bouaziz said, to withdraw the cash from its accounts but is hoping that penalty will be waived.

The goal of Deel’s $120 million lifeline is to help businesses run payroll for the next two cycles “with minimal interruptions.” Companies that need assistance can fill out a request form and apply through Deel, which says it will help with both employee and contractor payroll for current customers, as well as some new customers.

“We freed up some of our cash because it’s our responsibility to help other companies, but we have to be very selective,” Bouaziz said.  “Because we’re already in the payroll system, we have ways to achieve good terms.”

Before the decision was announced, dealmakers and companies all over the country were working to find ways to help startups make payroll. With the government now promising relief, the efforts are now more useful as a back-up plan in case any hiccups occur between now and Monday morning. The terms of Deel's cash offers are not clear right now, making it hard to compare the option with the SVB-banked cash that is said to be freed up for founders starting Monday morning.

Deel appears to be working on a founder-friendly deal, with Bouaziz adding "the goal here is not for us to make money. It's more to help people and genuinely earn trust in the market as a payroll leader."

The startup is not the only payroll provider seeking to help customers. On Saturday, Remote announced that it would run payroll "for all employers and employees employed through Remote affected by SVB, regardless if they are able to fund payroll in time for March payroll." In a tweet, co-founder and COO Marcelo Lebre said: "If your employer that is employing you through Remote is not able to pay for March payroll immediately, as they don’t have access to their funds, Remote will still pay your salary."

Brex also announced Saturday that it is trying to raise capital for an emergency credit line this weekend after receiving $1 billion in interest. CEO Henrique Dubugras declined to comment on how much capital has been committed for the credit line thus far, but, upon last chat with TechCrunch, said he’s on back-to-back calls trying to get funds locked down. Its unclear how his fundraising strategy may have changed given the regulator's most recent update.

Bouaziz said that "demand is not that interesting for us, because what we actually want to do is help people."

Deel, which has raised nearly $680 million since its 2019 inception and was last valued at $12 billion, claims that it has been profitable since September. It has over 450 bank accounts around the world, citing JPMorgan Chase and Citibank as two of its “primary banking partners,” according to Bouaziz.

In January, the fintech-turned-HR outfit revealed that it had reached $295 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR) by the end of 2022, up 417.5% from $57 million in ARR achieved at the end of 2021. At that time, Deel said it had more than 15,000 customers, including Nike, Subway, Reebok, Forever 21 and Klarna. Today, Bouaziz said the company has almost 18,000 customers.Also in January, Deel acquired Capbase for an undisclosed amount in a cash and stock deal, marking its entry into the equity management space.

In April of 2022, Remote raised $300 million at a $3 billion-plus valuation. At the time, the company said its customers ranged from small startups to large enterprises and included GitLab, DoorDash, Hello Fresh, Loom and Paystack.

Read more about SVB's 2023 collapse on TechCrunch
Read more about SVB's 2023 collapse on TechCrunch