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Lili: Keeping Your Finances at the Palm of Your Hand


What if you could keep track of your finances on the go? One company made that happen.

Keeping track of your finances and monthly expenses can be challenging and time-consuming. Especially for freelancers and own-account workers, monitoring every financial insight, tax, and income can be challenging.

Lili is a freelancer-friendly digital banking platform that offers real-time cost monitoring, tax tools, and financial analytics. Its design allows people to keep work and life separate, enjoying financial independence.

The firm was formed in 2018 by Lilac Bar David and Liran Zelkha, with headquarters in New York City. The fact that not many banking platforms were available back then drove Lilac and Liran to the idea of Lili.

Over time, Lili has improved well and has become a million-dollar company in no time, thanks to its innovative co-founders.

If you want to know more about their journey, keep on reading.

Falling in Love with Technology

Lilac Bar David was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, and has spent her childhood days there. As a kid who grew up near the sea, her days were filled with sunny weekend trips to the beach, ice cream, and playing board games with her family and friends. Lilac often spent time with them since she has no siblings but comes from a big family with many cousins.

With such a vast extended family, she didn’t have any alone time, which was why she later grew into a communicative and free-spirited person. Lilac had always been a kid that wanted to be well educated on many topics, and that’s why she often participated in group school competitions.

After she turned 18, surprisingly, Lilac joined the army, which wasn’t something that was expected of her, and was a stark contrast to her bright youth. She first became interested in technology and decided to continue in that direction.

The other co-founder, Liran Zelkha, had a similar upbringing as Lilac since they come from the same part of Tel Aviv, Israel. However, they didn’t know each other in their childhood days but met later on.

Young Liran was a quiet and shy boy who didn’t go out very much but spent his days studying and educating himself. As early as middle school, Liran developed an admiration for technology, and by the time he finished high school, Liran knew what his profession would be. Besides that, not much is known about Liran’s childhood and early days.

Pilling up the Professional Experience

Lilac is an accomplished chief executive with more than ten years of expertise in the fintech field, with a track record of starting, managing, and driving operations at various financial firms. She holds a Bachelor's degree from Tel Aviv University in the field of Economics and Accounting. After finishing college, she got a Master’s degree from the same university in 2002.

Before Lili, Lilac developed Pepper, Israel's first challenger bank at that time, and ran it for over three years, up until 2018. Previously, she also worked at Bank Leumi, starting as a Manager of Financial Controls for 4 years before she got promoted to Manager of System Analysis and IT projects.

Finally, after 7 years at Leumi, Lilac earned herself the title of Director of Business Development and Strategy, where she gained significant knowledge in that field. As the EVP of Business Development at Leumi, she formed strategic alliances and launched a program for early-stage fintech entrepreneurs.

Like Lilac, Liran has extensive previous professional experience, and he had garnered a substantial amount of professional experience over the course of 20 years in the software industry. Even when Liran was only working as a freelancer, he managed to design a solution for the particular obstacles that independent employees face. Liran specializes in converting aspirational ideas into working enterprises, from strategic management to programming.

Young Liran was the CEO and CTO of Tona's technology consulting business and owner and co-founder of Aluna, Israel's premier Java and service-oriented architecture firm. Further enriching his work portfolio, Liran also worked as the CTO and VP of Research & Development at Pepper. He met Lilac, and the two of them immediately hit it off and became business partners and friends.

Getting Worldwide Recognition

After Lilac and Liran decided to form Lili, they officially launched it in November 2018. The company carries the initials of both co-founders - Lilac and Liran, since they started on their own to establish the company.

As they entered the fintech industry, both Lilac and Liran knew that they would have to withstand the competition from companies like Yepstr, Conta Simples, and Juni.

The company aims to provide financial services and solutions to freelancers to manage private and professional finances in one account.

Lili removes roadblocks and promotes their clients' independence so they may do what they want with their money. They employ human-centered design to create exceptional experiences and meet the demands of their clients. It offers banking services, real-time spending tracking, and tax tools.

By the time Lili expanded and released a series of valuable tools and programs on the platform, the company grew into a million-dollar one and got its first investors. However, even though Lili had gained significant recognition from the start, their big breakthrough in the worldwide market didn’t come until Lili Pro was released.

Lili's initial product was a tax-saving program that automatically put away a particular amount of freelancer revenue for upcoming tax payments. Since freelancers do this by themselves, they regularly need to make significant payments to the IRS annually.

The banking platform has also created tools to assist freelancers with expenditure categorization – the tools subtract work expenses from tax revenue and assist freelancers in saving just the right amount. This digital banking platform has no additional monthly costs and fees, nor does it require deposits. Later on, the firm released Lili Pro, a platform for even more advanced freelancing that includes everything from invoicing to fee-free overdraft protection.

Putting Lili on Solid Financial Ground

So far, Lili has raised a not-so-shabby sum of $80M in over 3 series A and B funding rounds. The banking software has secured $55 million in the most recent Series B fundraising round, bringing the startup's total capital to $80 million. Group 11 led the investment round, including participation from other investors such as Target Global and Altair.

Lilac and Liran’s company managed to draw the attention of 10 investors, like Primary Venture Partners, AltalR Capital, and Zeev Ventures, all being the company’s most recent investors. However, their lead investor that has raised the most funds is Group 11, expanding Lili to quite the valuable firm as of May 11, 2021.

Where Is Lili Today?

As of 2022, Lili has around 50 exceptional employees and the two co-founders, Lilac and Liran, who have become quite the powerful business duo. Both CEOs are working very hard, driven by their restless entrepreneurial spirit, and as a result, Lili has been selected as one of FastCompany's 50 Most Innovative Companies in the World for 2022.

The company has all of the regular features that more than 250,000 freelancers in the United States have expected from Lili, but the company pushed them to the next level with Pro. Today, you can pay the invoices, get a 100% APY on your savings, and even categorize your expenses with the brand new expenses tool, and worry less about your bank account.

Lili has ranked first in FastCompany’s Personal Finance Category and has achieved an even bigger prestige, but they don’t plan on stopping here. Especially popular among freelancers, Lili will surely develop a fresh tool to best serve the hardworking freelancers.

Lilac and Liran, along with their advisory board members, are working on a new and more advanced alteration of Lili Pro, and we can’t wait to see what that is and what the future holds for them!