Maza raises $8m to provide U.S. immigrants with financial identities

Maza raises $8m to provide U.S. immigrants with financial identities

Published: 04-07-2023 12:32:00 | By: Pie Kamau | hits: 3480 | Tags:

Today, over 15 million immigrants in the U.S., many of which are high earners, are blocked from joining the country's traditional financial system because they lack a Social Security number (SSN). Because of this and other constraints, they are often pushed into non-traditional – and even predatory – forms of finance, such as check cashers, loan sharks, and pawnbrokers.

To solve this pervasive problem, Maza, a financial platform designed to provide immigrants with the financial identities they need to realize their American Dream, announced a $8 million seed round led by Andreessen Horowitz with additional participation from SV AngelBox GroupRestive VenturesGlobal Founders CapitalAbstract Ventures, and a collection of independent investors including Anre Williams, CEO of American Express National Bank, and William Hockey, Co-founder of Plaid.

Maza's suite of financial services products offer a gateway to U.S. financial freedom by automating a U.S. tax presence for immigrants. Maza customers are given a U.S. Tax ID and a bank account, allowing them to receive payments from employers, file taxes, access credit, and build wealth. With Maza, customers without SSNs can now develop a credit history – opening the door to options like car and home loans — while ensuring that earnings are appropriately accounted for within the U.S. tax system.

Luciano Arango, CEO and Co-founder, Maza:  "As descendants of Latin American immigrants, my co-founders and I are building the company our parents needed. Individuals who have moved to the U.S. are often at a financial disadvantage. Even those who are highly educated and already have well-paying jobs may become targets of predatory lending and exploitative financial products. Anyone who is seeking to achieve their unique American Dream needs a financial identity, and that's where Maza comes in."

Maza works directly with the IRS, through their Certified Acceptance Program, to obtain Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) for its members. Obtaining an ITIN allows members to file taxes, build credit, obtain a driver's license in many states, and even purchase a home.

Seema Amble, Partner, Andreessen Horowitz: "Maza identified a massive need here in the U.S. and we're thrilled to help them address it in a meaningful way. Attaining success in the U.S. takes more than residency; the key is to actively participate in the free market. With Maza, we believe immigrants can finally forge a solid financial footing to foster a prosperous life in America."

Maza's financial platform also offers members a modern banking experience in partnership with Visa and Blue Ridge Bank, without requiring an SSN. The company's banking product features broad payment functionality, as well as integrations with all major payment platforms, including PayPal, Zelle, Venmo, and CashApp. Money deposited in Maza earns one of the highest checking account interest rates, helping members grow their wealth.

Robbie Figueroa, COO and Co-founder, Maza: "Coming to the U.S. shouldn't mean sacrificing your financial freedom or well-being. Folks from abroad are looking to establish their foundation from day one, but even with capital, the US financial system can feel like an endless maze. With Maza, we've simplified this journey for tens of thousands of customers."

Maza has been operating in stealth for over a year, with 50,000 active members already utilizing the platform, several of which are now leveraging their Identity product to mortgage a home. "Moving from another country to the U.S. has a huge number of obstacles, and simple things like getting paid shouldn't require jumping through hoops," said Siggy Bilstein, CTO and Co-Founder of Maza.