Currencycloud Taps Plaid to Streamline Account Funding

Currencycloud Taps Plaid to Streamline Account Funding

Global payments platform Currencycloud has teamed up with open finance network Plaid this week. Through the collaboration, the two will offer a joint solution to make it easy for U.K. banks and fintechs to operate in multiple currencies.

The overall objective of the partnership is to reduce friction for Currencycloud customers. Currencycloud will embed Plaid’s Payment Initiation Services (PIS) into its app, allowing customers to pull money directly into their account from any bank without ever leaving the app.

The rollout will begin with customers using the Currencycloud Direct white-label solution, and will later roll out to the entire Currencycloud platform.

“The internet has made business more borderless than ever before, but it is incredibly difficult to move money across countries. Accepting, settling, and converting payments is complicated, expensive, and can take time,” said Plaid Head of European Partnerships Farid Sedjelmaci. “Combining Plaid’s Payment Initiation Services with Currencycloud’s all-inclusive platform for foreign exchange provides a smooth payment experience that obscures all of the complications with online global money movement.”

Prior to the partnership, the only way customers using Currencycloud Direct could top up their account was to leave the app, log into their bank app, and submit the payment. Embedding Plaid’s PIS reduces this friction, streamlining the account funding process.

Currencycloud was founded in 2012 and has since processed more than $100 billion to over 180 countries. The U.K.-based company works with FIs and fintechs including Visa, Dwolla, and Mambu to help them provide cross-border infrastructure solutions to their clients.

Plaid helps 11,000+ FIs offer their customers access to third party financial services via a suite of APIs to connect consumers, financial institutions, and developers. The company was founded in 2013 and is headquartered in San Francisco, California.


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Q2 and Plaid Partner Up to Expand Access to Digital Banking Solutions

Q2 and Plaid Partner Up to Expand Access to Digital Banking Solutions

A strategic partnership between Finovate alums Q2 and Plaid will give 18 million consumers across more than 500 banks and credit unions the ability to access 5,500+ fintech apps and other digital banking features. The alliance, announced today, combines Q2’s digital banking platform and Plaid’s open finance platform, Plaid Exchange. The goal is to provide customers with a secure and reliable way to both connect accounts to digital apps and services, as well as give them the tools to manage these connections.

“At Plaid, we believe all consumers should have access to digital financial services, regardless of where they bank, and the Q2 team shares this same mission,” Plaid director of strategic partnerships Reed Bouchelle said.

The partnership also will enable Q2’s financial institution customers to leverage Plaid’s APIs to give accountholders fast, easy, and secure digital account funding. New customers will be able to save time and effort by linking their bank accounts during the account opening process to fund new accounts in seconds rather than days.

“Our partnership extends beyond data access,” Bouchelle continued. “With Plaid, Q2 financial institutions will enable consumers to more easily fund new accounts and see a holistic view of spending and net worth across all of their financial accounts,” he said. Bouchelle credited a quartet of Plaid solutions – Exchange, Auth, Identity, and Transactions – for ensuring the comprehensive nature of the new functionality.

Q2 Chief Technology Officer Adam Blue highlighted the needs of financial institutions serving diverse communities in emphasizing the importance of the partnership with Plaid. “To stay competitive in the market, and provide unparalleled customer experiences,” Blue said, “FIs need to offer the services their customers expect. By integrating Q2’s digital banking platform with Plaid Exchange, Q2’s financial institutions will be able to effectively partner with fintechs while providing improved end-user experiences to their customers.”

Austin, Texas-based Q2 was founded in 2004 and made its Finovate debut (as Q2ebanking) at FinovateSpring seven years later. The digital banking and lending solution provider went public in spring of 2014 under the ticker symbol QTWO, and currently has a market capitalization of $4.8 billion. The company’s Plaid partnership announcement comes just weeks after Q2 inked a deal with Stanford Federal Credit Union ($3.6 billion in assets; 77,000 members) to deploy both its digital banking platform and its Q2 Innovation Studio. Q2 also recently announced core processing partnerships with b1BANK ($3.9 billion in assets), Citizens Bank of Edmond ($350 million in assets), and fellow Finovate alum Moven.

Financial data network Plaid works with more than 11,000 financial institutions to ensure broad access to the thousands of digital financial services built on its platform. Making its Finovate debut in 2014 as a presenter at FinDEVr SiliconValley where the company demonstrated its “API for Financial Infrastructure,” Plaid has become synonymous with the movement to democratize digital finance. The company secured a Series D extension – amount undisclosed – from American Express and JP Morgan in August and, later that month, announced a new partnership with advanced bank-to-bank transfer solutions company Astra. Earlier this month, Plaid announced a collaboration with Silicon Valley Bank to make the institution the first to offer ACH account token integration with its technology.

“With Silicon Valley Bank,” Plaid Head of Revenue and Partnerships Paul Williamson said when the partnership was announced, “thousands of fintech innovators now have access to an integrated payment processing solution that combines the power of SVB and Plaid to deliver seamless, convenient digital finance experiences.”

Plaid was founded in 2013 by William Hockey and Zachary Perret (CEO). The company achieved unicorn status in 2018 after securing a $250 million Series C investment that gave the San Francisco, California-based firm a valuation of $2.65 billion.

Plaid Lands Funding from JP Morgan Private Capital & Amex

Plaid Lands Funding from JP Morgan Private Capital & Amex

Financial data and infrastructure platform Plaid announced today that it received an undisclosed amount of new funding from J.P. Morgan Private Capital Growth Equity Partners and Amex Ventures, which first invested in the California-based company in 2016. The new round boosts Plaid’s total funding somewhere north of $724 million.

In a statement, the company said that today’s investment will help it “further accelerate efforts to meet rising consumer demand for digital finance; a shift powering the rapid growth of Plaid’s diverse customer ecosystem.”

The funds are an add-on to the company’s $425 million Series D round announced in April. While that investment valued Plaid at $13.4 billion, today’s new funds do not alter the valuation.

This may be J.P. Morgan’s first investment in Plaid, but the two have been data partners since 2018. There is also a storied history between Plaid and J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon. Earlier this year Dimon cited Plaid as an example of a company that improperly uses client data. However, Dimon did not cite any specific scenarios to back up his accusation.

Plaid was founded in 2013. The company builds APIs to connect consumers, financial institutions, and developers. Plaid also offers a suite of analytics products that provides further insights into transactions. As the rise of open finance in the U.S. has begun to impact firms both in and out of fintech, Plaid is on its way to becoming a household name.

“While we’re still in the early innings of the digital transformation in financial services,” said Plaid CEO Zach Perret, “we’re excited to work with the thousands of banks, fintechs and non-financial institutions in our network to create what’s next.”


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Four on 50: Finovate Alums Earn Spots on CNBC Technology Disruptors List

Four on 50: Finovate Alums Earn Spots on CNBC Technology Disruptors List

For many, at least in fintech, the conversation on innovation has begun to shift from an emphasis on disruption to a focus on the possibilities of collaboration.

But the title of “Technology Disruptor” is still a coveted one, especially in the popular media where talking heads talk about technology trends like celebrities mincing down the red carpet on awards night.

CNBC has been culling the ranks of Technology Disruptors for nearly a decade and, this week, introduced its ninth CNBC Disruptor 50 list. The collection of technology companies is designed to highlight private firms that have helped lead the way out of the COVID-19 era “with business models and growth rates aligned with a rapid pace of technological change.”

See the full list at CNBC.com. For now, here’s a look at the four Finovate alums who made this year’s roster.

#7 Marqeta

Like most of the Finovate alums that made this year’s CNBC Disruptor 50 list, Marqeta was first introduced to our audiences via its participation in our developer’s conference FinDEVr SiliconValley 2016.

The company leverages its open API platform to enable its clients and partners to instantly issue and process card payments. With more than $528 million in funding, the Oakland, California-based firm is reportedly readying for a $100 million initial public offering later this year.

#38 Ripple

Does anyone remember OpenCoin? That was the company that Chris Larsen brought to FinovateSpring in 2013 to introduce a new virtual currency and distributed open source protocol called Ripple.

In the years since then, Ripple has grown into enterprise blockchain company with hundreds of customers in more than 55 countries who are using its solutions. The company’s XRP Ledger and digital asset XRP, running on Ripple’s global network, improve and enhance payment services for businesses around the world.

#39 Plaid

An alum of our developers conference FinDEVr, Plaid became a household word in the fintech community when Visa tried to acquire the company in January 2020. That plan was nixed by the U.S. Justice Department, but Plaid has continued on its innovative path to promote open finance via API.

Dedicated to helping connect people’s financial accounts to their apps, Plaid has added key insights to the data access it facilitates via a suite of analytics solutions such as its new income verification product, Plaid Income.

#40 Nubank

International fintech has always been part of the Finovate/FinDEVr beat. Back in 2016, a Brazilian financial services startup with the backing of an impressive array of venture capitalists demonstrated its unique approach to fintech development at FinDEVr New York 2016.

Today, that company, Nubank, is the biggest fintech in Latin America. The company operates as a challenger bank with more than 34 million customers and offices in Berlin and Mexico City, in addition to its São Paulo, Brazil headquarters.

Other fintechs that made this year’s CNBC Disruptor 50 are:

  • Robinhood
  • Stripe
  • Brex
  • Chime
  • Checkout.com
  • TALA
  • Flutterwave

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Plaid and Square Team Up to Improve the ACH Payments Experience

Plaid and Square Team Up to Improve the ACH Payments Experience

Two fintech megaliths, financial data and infrastructure platform Plaid and merchant services company Square formed a partnership this week that will offer merchants a smoother experience when it comes to ACH payments.

Through the deal, U.S. merchants can process ACH payments without storing clients’ bank account information. Square is leveraging a tokenized check system that uses Plaid to help customers connect their bank accounts. Plaid enables customers to enter their bank login credentials to connect their account and enable the payment.

This system works especially well for businesses that take payments for high-value orders. That’s because it increases the certainty that they payment will go through. Making acceptance even easier, Square offers fee-free refunds on ACH payments processed.

“Payment flexibility, security, and transparency are core to Square’s Payment Platform,” said the Head of Square’s Payment Platform Dennis Jarosch. “By offering ACH payments, we can help businesses process large transactions online at a low cost without worrying about bank authentication, compliance, or any managed payment complexities. We’re excited to offer ACH as one of many ways that businesses get paid fast and securely with Square.”

For Plaid, this news comes shortly after the company closed a $425 million round of funding. Plaid was founded in 2012 to build APIs to connect consumers, financial institutions, and developers. Today, the company also offers a suite of analytics products that provides further insights into transactions.


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FinDEVr Shines a Light on Fintech’s Developers at FinovateSpring

FinDEVr Shines a Light on Fintech’s Developers at FinovateSpring

With apologies to LL Cool J, feel free to call it a comeback.

FinDEVr, our conference series dedicated to developers in fintech and financial services, is back. We’re saving the final day of FinovateSpring this year to shine a light on the role that developers continue to play in building and applying the technologies that keep fintech at the cutting edge.

Some of Finovate’s most illustrious alums have, in fact, been alums of FinDEVr. Among those at the top of the list are innovators like Plaid. The company, nearly acquired by Visa for more than $5 billion last year, was a big part of one of our earliest FinDEVr events in 2014 where it introduced its “API for Financial Infrastructure” to fintech audiences.

FinDEVr has also served as a platform for innovative fintechs not just from outside of Silicon Valley, but from outside the U.S., as well. An excellent example of this kind of FinDEVr alum is Nubank. Making its FinDEVr debut at our first developers conference on the east coast, FinDEVr New York, in 2016, the Brazilian financial services startup has grown into a major regional neobank and the biggest fintech in Latin America with more than 34 million customers.

For this year’s return, FinDEVr will feature a quintet (or more!) of innovative companies that are busying building tomorrow’s fintech today. Each company will provide both a TECHTalk and an informative workshop to dive deeper into the enabling technologies being discussed. Take a look at our current line-up below, as well as the topics we’ll be talking about.

Connecting Siloed Financial Data: Open Banking’s Impact on the Financial Experience

Join Finicity as they explore the implications of an open financial ecosystem, shifting control to consumers, what the impact is for technologists and developers, and how open banking is being leveraged to improve financial literacy and inclusion. Finicity will follow this with a workshop on how to leverage the power of open banking with a hands-on introduction to their platform. Learn more.

The Tango: Operationalizing Predictive Models, an Engineering and Data Science Collaboration

Instnt will examine the different workflows followed by data science and engineering and discuss why they must come together in the deployment and maintenance of application models. The conversation will be followed by a workshop on rapid feature development and analysis in the identity verification space. Learn more.

Simplifying the complex with an innovative tech stack

LoanPro’s TECHTalk will discuss the importance of a modern and secure technology stack that is cloud-based, uses a configuration first approach, and maintains security throughout the process. LoanPro will follow up with a workshop on how to connect with and build loans via LoanPro’s API in less than 90 minutes. Learn more.

Data for sustainability

What is the relationship between data, sustainability, and financial services? In their TECHTalk Ecolytiq will discuss how their Sustainability-as-a-Service model helps ensure that financial institutions have access to relevant, contextual information at the right time. After the presentation, Ecolytiq will lead a conversation on how to ethically manage different data assets, and how to integrate them into the decision-making process. Learn more.

Scalable fintech product development

How can product development teams keep up with the rapid pace of fintech product adoption while remaining efficient and keeping costs down? Praxent’s TECHTalk will examine this challenge in greater detail and highlight ways to resolve productivity challenges. The workshop afterward will feature best practices for identifying bottlenecks in the development process and how to accurately benchmark your team’s progress. Learn more.


To find out more about the return of FinDEVr, visit the FinDEVr section of our FinovateSpring hub for more information.


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Plaid Scores $425 Million in Series D Funding

Plaid Scores $425 Million in Series D Funding

Plaid to DOJ: No acquisition? No problem.

There has been no stopping Plaid since the U.S. Department of Justice put the kibosh on its planned acquisition by Visa at the beginning of the year.

Last week, the financial data connectivity platform announced that it was collaborating with fellow Finovate alum DriveWealth. Before that, the company introduced the first graduates of its diversity-oriented fintech accelerator, FinRise; announced a partnership with Dun & Bradstreet; and unveiled its new income verification tool, Plaid Income.

Today brings news that Plaid has secured a massive $425 million investment in a round led by Altimeter Capital. The Series D round also features participation from Silver Lake, Ribbit Capital, and other current investors, and gives the firm a total capital amount of more than $734 million. Now sporting a valuation of $13.4 billion, Plaid said it will use the additional capital to “grow its platform, invest in infrastructure, payments capabilities and global expansion,” according to the company’s U.K. head, Keith Grose.

In a blog post titled “Digital finance is everywhere, but it’s just getting started,” Plaid CEO and co-founder Zach Perret described how, in some ways, the dream that led to the founding of Plaid “nearly a decade ago” is beginning to come true. “We dreamt of a financial system that was built to empower consumers and unlock financial freedom for everyone,” Perret said. “We are humbled to watch as fintech continues to expand and improve the financial lives of billions of people worldwide.”

More specifically, Perret’s post makes it clear that “scale” is the next big objective for the San Francisco, California-based fintech. In order to meet increasing global demand, as well as deliver on the growing expectations of ever-more-digitally-savvy consumers, Plaid will continue to invest in API technology as well as “tools and services to support enhanced privacy, personalization, decisioning, and automation.”

Founded in 2012, Plaid made its Finovate debut two years later at our developers conference, FinDEVr. The company has grown from an API-building technology infrastructure startup to now also offer key insights into the data access it provides via a suite of analytics solutions. Plaid’s technology enables users to access detailed transaction histories, setup direct debits and payouts, verify borrower assets, user identities, and real-time account balances; and make instant, in-app bank payments.

Since inception, Plaid has analyzed more than 10 billion transactions. Use cases for the company’s technology range from personal finance, lending, and wealth management, to consumer payments, banking, and business finance.


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DriveWealth Forges Partnership with Plaid

DriveWealth Forges Partnership with Plaid

It’s getting hard not to wonder if Plaid is better off as a bachelor …

Last week, we highlighted how the financial data connectivity platform rebounded from its failed union with Visa to launch a range of new initiatives including new offerings (new income verification solution Plaid Income), new partners, and a diversity-oriented accelerator program, FinRise.

Today brings news that Plaid has teamed up with global brokerage infrastructure platform – and fellow Finovate alum – DriveWealth. Courtesy of a single API integration, customers of both firms will be able to streamline and simplify the online investment account funding process for their clients.

“The combination of DriveWealth and Plaid to enable anyone from fintechs and banks to investment advisors and RIAs to quickly and securely add investment capabilities to their current offerings, via a simple API, will give more consumers equal access to investing in the U.S. markets,” DriveWealth CEO Bob Cortright said.

The integration will enable customers of both DriveWealth and Plaid to authenticate end user bank accounts using Plaid’s technology, and leverage tokenization to provide fast and secure verification of bank funding sources using DriveWealth’s API. The combination not only improves the ACH success rate, it also boosts transparency into the fund transfer process while safeguarding client data.

Plaid Head of Revenue Paul Williamson credited the wealth management industry for its advances in technology in recent years. But he pointed out that there is still more friction in the process than there needs to be. “Companies like DriveWealth are changing that and this partnership combines to power of Plaid with DriveWealth to make digital investing experiences even easier,” Williamson said.

In addition to this week’s partnership with DriveWealth, Plaid also announced that it is working with Dun & Bradstreet to bring the benefits of alternative data to small business credit risk analysis. The new integration will enable small business owners to safely share financial account information and potentially improve their credit profile with the commercial credit reporting agency.

“Small businesses need all the support they can get, and this integration makes the process of creating and building a business credit profile secure and simple, which can lead to better access to financing and more business opportunities,” Global Head of Policy at Plaid John Pitts said.

And by the way, Plaid is not the only fintech in today’s partnership announcement that is populating the headlines of late. DriveWealth began 2021 with the acquisition of institutional broker dealer Cuttone & Company. The deal will bring additional market and regulatory expertise to the Chatham, New Jersey-based brokerage infrastructure API provider – as well as a network of institutional trading partners.

More recently, DriveWealth teamed up with Aghaz to support the Seattle-based roboadvisor’s investment app for Muslim customers, partnered with cross-border roboadvisor Hemista to bring fractional share investing in both U.S. and Indian stocks to Indian ex-pats, and collaborated with GenZ-focused investment app Alinea.

Plaid Introduces the Inaugural Cohort of its New Fintech Accelerator

Plaid Introduces the Inaugural Cohort of its New Fintech Accelerator

Not letting any grass grow beneath its feet in the wake of the U.S. Justice department’s decision to block its acquisition by Visa, fintech infrastucture company Plaid has since launched its FinRise incubator to support early-stage founders who are members of ethnic minority groups.

“While technology has come a long way to level the playing field, the reality is that many minority-owned businesses are still frequently denied access to some of the most basic resources needed to start and grow their businesses,” Nell Malone and Bhargavi Kamakshivalli wrote on the Plaid blog when the program was announced in January. Highlighting in particular the plight of African-American owned businesses as noted in a report from the Small Business Administration, Malone and Kamakshivalli wrote: “It is a shared responsibility to help power a financial system that works for everyone, and we recognize that one way to achieve that is to support and promote a diverse ecosystem of entrepreneurs.”

All this makes today’s announcement that FinRise has chosen the first companies to participate in its accelerator program that much more exciting for supporters of financial inclusion and diversity. Out of more than 100 applications, five early-stage fintechs were selected, offering solutions in everything from identity verification and authentication to financial wellness and lending.

The qualifications for consideration were startups with at least one founder who is African-American, indigenous, or a “person of color,” has two or more employees, and is post-seed, pre-Series B in its funding status. The members of the incoming class are below:

Global Data Consortium: a global identity verification API that provides KYC and eKYC services for businesses

Guidefi: a financial wellness marketplace to help members of ethnic minority groups connect with “vetted, culturally-attuned” financial advisors

OfColor: a financial wellness program that offers personalized PFM and loans to help ethnic minority employees maximize their 401(k) contributions

Walnut: a point-of-sale lending platform that works with healthcare providers to make it easier for patients to pay for their medical bills

Zeta: a financial wellness company that specializes in PFM solutions for couples and families

FinRise begins with a three-day bootcamp of workshops covering issues ranging from regulatory and policy concerns to marketing and communications strategy. After the bootcamp, startups will be paired with Plaid mentors to help them further develop and scale their products. The nine-month program consists of workshops and networking opportunities with accelerator partners, as well as discounts on services offered by Plaid network partners. Even those startups not selected for the accelerator this session will be eligible for discounts and credits from companies supporting the program.

FinRise’s network partners include: Alloy, AWS Activate, Brex, Fintrail, FS Vector, Hummingbird, Very Good Security, and Zendesk.


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Plaid Releases Income Verification Tool

Plaid Releases Income Verification Tool

Banking technology player Plaid announced Plaid Income this week, the company’s new income verification tool.

Income offers a secure and fast way to help consumers prove their salary in order to qualify for and secure loans, rent apartments, lease vehicles, and more. Lenders benefit from this data by being able to make better-informed risk decisions, issue pre-approvals or approvals faster, and allocate fewer resources to manually reviewing documents. 

Plaid places consumers in control of their own data by offering them the option to choose whether to share their data. With Income, they can opt to share their salary information by connecting to their employer account, payroll provider account, or by verifying their salary using documents such as paystubs, W2s, and some 1099s.

To help users connect directly with their payroll provider, Plaid supports real-time payroll authentication for over 250,000 of the largest employers in the U.S. The company is also developing credential-less authentication capabilities with leading payroll providers, including ADP.

The new Income tool is part of the Plaid for Payroll suite, which also includes the company’s Deposit Switch offering launched earlier this year.

Plaid’s income verification tool is similar to an offering from its competitor Finicity, which launched its Verification of Income and Employment solution in 2019. Among Finicity’s clients are Freddie Mac, Quicken Loans, and Experian.

Interestingly, Finicity was acquired by Mastercard late last year, just days after the U.S. Department of Justice filed a civil antitrust lawsuit to block Visa’s ability to acquire innovative fintech.


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In the Battle for Direct Deposits, Plaid Stands with the Little Guys

In the Battle for Direct Deposits, Plaid Stands with the Little Guys

Plaid’s newest product is sure to make consumers happy and large banks slightly terrified. The company is tapping the power of direct deposits for its new launch, Deposit Switch.

The new offering, which goes live in beta today, does exactly as it sounds. It offers financial institutions and fintechs a tool to help end consumers easily change which account their paychecks are deposited into.

Switching the destination of direct deposits is a hassle for consumers, and generally requires manual paperwork that has to change hands between their bank and employer. Deposit Switch aims to end this headache. The company is relying on its instant switch method that connects a consumer’s payroll account directly through Plaid Link, the quick-start method to integrating with Plaid’s API.

For end users, the direct deposit switch can be done in four steps, as illustrated below:

deposit switch flow

“For financial institutions, high-friction onboarding experiences can lead to consumer drop-off and inactive accounts—and can ultimately prevent banks from becoming a consumer’s primary financial institution,” Plaid noted in a blog post announcement. “A significant opportunity exists for expanded innovation that leads to better consumer outcomes. Plaid can help by building the infrastructure that bridges the gap between financial institutions and payroll data, starting with direct deposits.”

In addition to giving consumers more control over their financial lives, Deposit Switch could also be a boon for smaller financial institutions (FIs) and fintechs. That’s because Deposit Switch is a new tool for them to win over consumer deposits.

Generally, banks use a high interest rate, a one-time bonus, or an enticing gift to incentivize their clients to change their direct deposit. These options are costly, And for smaller FIs and digital banks especially, may not be feasible.

Many digital banks are having difficulty boosting their total assets under management in the first place. This is due to two reasons 1) consumers use them as an “accessory” bank while storing and depositing the bulk of their money in larger institutions and 2) Many clients that use a digital bank as their primary financial institution may not have as much net worth and/or don’t receive as high a salary as those who choose to bank with traditional FIs.

Yotta, a fintech app that helps users build their savings, is one of the fintechs beta testing Plaid’s Deposit Switch. “Working with Plaid, we’ve made it faster and easier for customers to take the first step by establishing and funding their accounts with direct deposit,” said Yotta co-founder, Ben Doyle. “Yotta also integrates with Plaid Exchange, so customers can securely use their Yotta account with other fintech apps for digital payments, financial planning, investments and more. Fintech is the new normal for most Americans and Plaid helps Yotta meet customers where they are.”

So what about large, traditional FIs? Should they be worried that fintechs are making it too easy for clients to pour their paychecks into competing accounts? The short answer: yes.


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How Plaid is Helping to Level the Fintech Playing Field

How Plaid is Helping to Level the Fintech Playing Field

Banking technology innovator Plaid is kicking off Black History Month ahead of schedule this year. The San Francisco-based company announced the launch of FinRise today. FinRise is a nine month accelerator program designed to support early-stage founders who are Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC).

“While technology has come a long way to level the playing field, the reality is that many minority-owned businesses are still frequently denied access to some of the most basic resources needed to start and grow their businesses,” the company said in a blog post.

The program, which was developed during an internal hackathon, offers three key areas of support:

  1. Access to capital and services
    Plaid is leveraging its network of venture capital firms, network service providers, and accelerators to offer startups networking opportunities, discounted services and ad credits, and pitch practice.
  2. Resources for growth
    The program will kick off with a three-day virtual bootcamp led by Plaid experts and other thought leaders who will lead workshops on technical, product, and business topics. The sessions will focus on topics like communication and storytelling, engineering best practices, navigating the policy and regulatory landscapes, and designing user-centric experiences. 
  3. Mentorship and support
    Participants will receive support for nine months following the bootcamp. In addition to benefitting from others in the bootcamp cohort, startups will have access to a dedicated account manager, an internal skillshare network, and mentorship from Plaid leaders.

The FinRise program certainly fills a gap. Historically, much of the attention on diversity has been focused on driving more women into the fintech sector. With Black History Month starting in February and the Black Lives Matter Movement still fresh in everyone’s mind, we can expect to see more initiatives dedicated to solving the gap in ethnic diversity in fintech and the technology field in general.

The first FinRise program will take place from April to December, 2021.

Eligible startups are U.S.-based, BIPOC majority-owned businesses incorporated in the United States with two or more employees. A panel of Plaid leaders will select the participants, giving preference to those that offer a product that leverages financial data.

Founders can apply starting today and the first cohort will be announced in early March.


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