Branch, a Minneapolis-based financial tech company, has secured $48 million from private investors and a $500 million line of credit to build its system that lets businesses pay workers more quickly.

The infusion of capital is a sign of investor excitement about the way Branch and companies like it are shortening the time in which people are paid for their work.

The new investment is a second, or Series B, capital round for Branch. It was led by the New York City-based investment firm Addition and included investments from Matchstick Ventures, which is run from Minneapolis and Boulder, Colo, and Great North Labs, based in Minneapolis. It brings Branch's outside investment total to roughly $60 million.

Meanwhile, the massive credit facility comes through funds managed by New York-based Neuberger Berman and will allow Branch to assist a far larger group of employers and employees.

Branch said the fresh capital will be used on development of the company's software, which will help them expedite payments and financial services to W-2 and 1099 workers, and in hiring more people.

Branch anticipates doubling payroll to as many as 200 employees over the next year, about half of them in Minnesota, CEO Atif Siddiqi said.

After noticing how the COVID-19 pandemic affected the gig economy, Branch is moving more into accelerating payments for contractors, Siddiqi said.

"One of the things we've seen, especially over the last year, is that market segment really growing as people have become their own independent business owners and operators," he said. "There's unique products and services we're looking at to really meet their needs. Things like providing them rewards on common business expenses and helping them with tax tracking, which is a big thing for these contractors."

Among the other digital features offered by Branch is allowing employees to access up to 50% of their earned wages ahead of payday. Branch pre-funds those dollars, and the credit facility will supply capital to operate that service, Siddiqi said.

Siddiqi said Branch is trying to be a leader in being able to pay contract workers as soon as they complete the task.

"You work a job and you've completed that work, but those earnings are sitting with your employer," he said. "We let you tap into those earnings."

The company also offers a zero-fee bank account and a debit card to clients. The debit-card clients receive payday advances with no fee. The checking account and debit card are done in partnership with Mastercard and Evolve Bank & Trust.

The company created a function within its digital wallet for workers that allows employers to digitally pay out tips into their accounts.

Branch makes money anytime a worker opts in to use its debit card and make purchases on that card, Siddiqi said. He declined to disclose the company's revenue, but said revenue grew 300% from 2019 to 2020. Branch works with more than 300 employers in the United States, giving over 1.3 million workers the option to use the application.

Branch was founded in 2015 and relocated to Minneapolis from Los Angeles after participating in the Target Techstars accelerator in 2016.

Initially called Branch Messenger, it was the creator of a smartphone app that allowed hourly workers to swap shifts and message their co-workers. The company cut "Messenger" from its name in 2019 while pivoting into a financial services platform where hourly workers could get early access to their wages through a digital wallet.