Zebit: Buying Now And Paying Later Without Interest
Keeping up with credit cards and payments and beating the interest rate is one of the biggest challenges in the modern world.
Online shopping and paying should be a frictionless experience for everyone, and that’s precisely the idea the two innovation facilitators, Michael Thiemann and Marc Schneider, had when they founded Zebit.
This San Diego, CA-based drop shipping startup offers an opportunity for people facing financial hardships to get on track, make payments and get what they need without interest. The embedded buy-now-pay-later option allows both buyers and suppliers to enjoy smooth payments.
With Zebit, one can make purchases today and split the payments into interest-free installments over the next 6 months. The story of how Michael and Marc created their company is a stunner. So let’s check it out!
The Co-Founding Pair Behind Zebit Inc.
Marc Schneider and Michael Thiemann are two accomplished, success-driven executives and innovators whose transformative idea turned into a fundable, commercially-viable company. Both co-founders have impressive academic and professional backgrounds, with over 30 years of experience scaling businesses and facilitating innovation within organizations.
Michael Thiemann, The Technical Co-Founder of Zebit
Michael Thiemann is the technical co-founder of Zebit and served as its CEO and Executive Chairman until 2018. While at the helm of Zebit, Michael used combined technologies for credit review, fraud prevention, and internet transaction analysis to provide a better shopping experience by creating a unique product offering for cash-strapped consumers.
Before co-founding the company, Michael founded or co-founded nearly a dozen data science companies and served over 20 commercial and non-profit boards. He has served as CEO of Global Analytics (now Gain Credit), Investment Science, HNC Financial Solutions, and Apex.
Michael has been responsible for executing the innovation process of several products that helped propel these companies into the next wave of growth. One of these is Falcon (now FICO Falcon), a comprehensive solution for accurate payment card fraud detection, protecting over 2 billion credit card accounts worldwide.
Michael holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he was a Baker Scholar and Century Club member. He also has a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering and BA in Studio Arts; both earned at Stanford University. As part of his academic achievements, Michael received the top engineering undergraduate honor – the Senior Achievement Award.
Marc Schneider, The Business Development Co-Founder of Zebit
Marc Schneider is the business co-founder of Zebit and its current CEO, President, and Executive Director. When Michael Thiemann was the CEO, Marc served as President and COO, managing all aspects of Zebit's core operating functions.
He holds an MBA in Marketing from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Prior to co-founding Zebit, Marc worked across different industries executing result-oriented business scaling techniques and expanding entrepreneurial horizons. He started his early career as a management consultant who worked hands-on with his clients to solve complex issues.
Headquartered in Washington, DC, his Schneider Consulting firm served non-profit institutions such as the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, and the Resolution Trust Corporation.
After 7 years of consulting, Marc led strategic planning teams in the consumer magazine, catalog, and retail insert publishing businesses. Most notably, he led Sales and Marketing Planning at RR Donnelley and Sons, the largest commercial printing firm in the world. Marc also has a track record of working in the investment landscape, serving as a GM of Private Equity at Milestone Merchant Partners.
After that, Marc landed a position as a VP of Operations at former SEC chairman Richard Breeden’s firm and focused on corporate governance, restructurings, and turnarounds. For over 4 years, he managed the Customer Service Operations of Provide Commerce and led its M&A integration.
Later, Marc served as COO at Zulily, where he was responsible for architecting, hands-on implementation, and managing the company’s core operating functions. He also had a past job as SVP of Operations at Global Analytics (now Gain Credit), where he met his eventual co-founder Michael Thiemann who held the company's reins at the time.
What is Zebit About?
“Zebit was built to change how consumers get access to credit, to give them a fair deal and have zero gotchas.”
Zebit is the first fully automated payment system that provides zero-interest credit to millions of Americans with limited product funding access. The platform grants the underserved population real-time, no-cost, no-credit-check, 0% APR financing. Its mission is to make online shopping inclusive for everyone, regardless of their financial history.
To achieve this goal, the company offers credit and collects interest-free installment payments through automated deductions corresponding to each consumer’s pay dates. With the BNPL payment options embedded within the platform, Zebit provides choice, security, agility, and value for buyers and sellers.
So, How Does Zebit Work?
The company was launched in 2015 with the intent to rely strictly on drop shipping orders and carry no physical inventory. The company partners with Logicbroker, a cloud-based platform, to seamlessly enable a drop ship marketplace.
Consumers can purchase from the Zebit marketplace or directly from retailers that accept Zebit as a checkout option. The Zebit app, available on Android and iOS devices, is a fully functional mobile app that allows you to shop the online market for Zebit products and track orders.
The San Diego startup offers credit to finance electronics, appliances, furniture, toys, and more from brands like Apple, Panasonic, Samsung, Canon, Garmin, HP, LG Electronics, Hoover, Coleman, and thousands more. All products are sold at competitive retail prices, never above MSRP.
Funded by 6 investors, Zebit has raised a total of $90.1 million in pre-IPO funding over 3 rounds.
When first launched in 2015, the company secured $10 million in Series A venture capital funding round led by Crosslink Capital and included Wildcat Venture Partners, Leapfrog Ventures, and Correlation Ventures.
The company used the funds for working capital for receivables, operations, and expansion of its e-commerce platform. With the funding, general partners from these companies joined Zebit’s board of directors.
In December 2016, the CA-based e-commerce platform extended its Series A round by raising an additional $5.1 million. All existing investors participated once again. In October 2018, the platform raised $75 million from a Debt Financing round led by Route 66 Ventures.
In October 2020, the company went public and was listed on the ASX registered under the ticker ASX:ZBT. Its stock opened with an IPO share price of $1.58 on October 26, 2020, and it raised $35 million at a $149 million valuation.
What’s Next For Zebit?
Zebit is one of the fastest-growing tech startups in San Diego, with annual revenues of over $100 million. Its underlying technology was developed based on the co-founders’ expertise and experience in financial technology, big data analytics, payment systems, and e-commerce.
In 2015, Zebit’s e-commerce platform was the winning startup at The Future of Money and Technology, bringing to market a first-of-its-kind payment system that provides 0% financing. Thanks to the co-founding pair’s deep leadership experience, the company won several awards that helped cement its credibility.
Within the company are more than 50 employees who ensure consumers in all 50 States across the US have a frictionless shopping experience, regardless of their credit score. The platform allows millions of Americans to make purchases on whatever items they may need without any hidden fees or penalties while opening up a new market to merchants.
Currently, Zebit helps alleviate employee stress in retailers that have a workforce ranging from 1,000 to over 100,000 employees. In the future, the company intends to continue to scale and expand its reach, offering financial wellness to employers with more than 250,000 employees.