Plaid is a financial services company based in San Francisco, California. The company builds a data transfer network that powers fintech and digital finance products.

Plaid Inc.
IndustryFinancial technology and services
FoundedMay 2013; 10 years ago (2013-05)
Number of locations
7 countries (US, Canada, UK, France, Spain, Ireland, Netherlands)
Key people
  • Zach Perret (CEO)
  • Jean-Denis Greze (CTO)
ProductsTransactions, Auth, Balance, Identity, Assets, Investments, Liabilities, Payment Initiation, Income, Monitor
RevenueIncrease US$170 million[1] (2020)
Number of employees

Plaid's product, a technology platform, enables applications to connect with users’ bank accounts.[3] It allows consumers and businesses to interact with their bank accounts, check balances, and make payments through different financial technology applications.[4] The company operates in the US, Canada, the UK, France, Spain, Ireland, and the Netherlands.[5]

On January 13, 2020, Visa announced it was intending to acquire Plaid for $5.3 billion.[6] Visa later abandoned the deal after opposition by the United States Department of Justice due to data privacy, antitrust risks and monopolist reasons.[7][8]

History edit

Plaid was founded in 2013 by Zach Perret and William Hockey.[9] The pair originally attempted to build consumer financial management products, including budgeting and bookkeeping software.[10] When confronted with difficulties in connecting bank accounts required for these tools, they decided to pivot their core business focus to a unified banking API.[11]

Services edit

Plaid builds a data transfer network that powers Fintech and digital finance products. From the consumer side, this means they allow common apps such as Venmo and Chime to offer banking services without having to develop all the infrastructure themselves.[12] For immediate linking of their bank funds, users of the apps are required to share their bank login credentials with Plaid.[13] For some banks, Plaid will not receive user credentials and instead users will authorize access to bank data through their bank's portal.[14][15]

In October 2020, Plaid announced the "all-new Plaid Link" to reduce the steps necessary to connect financial products.[16]

The company added an instant payout feature based on the Real Time Payments (RTP) network to the Plaid Transfer product in April 2023. The service lets businesses disburse loan payments, payout insurance or wages in real-time.[17]

Funding edit

In late 2013, Plaid raised a $2.8 million seed round from Spark Capital, Google Ventures, and New Enterprise Associates. In 2014, Plaid raised $12.5 million from New Enterprise Associates.[18]

On December 11, 2018, the company announced a $250 million Series C round with a valuation of $2.65 billion. The funding round was led by Mary Meeker, with Andreessen Horowitz and Index Ventures joining as new investors. Former backers Goldman Sachs, NEA and Spark Capital also participated.[19] Plaid late stated that both Visa and Mastercard had invested in the round.[20]

On April 7, 2021, Plaid raised a $425 million Series D at a valuation of $13.4 billion.[21][22]

Round Date Lead Investor Amount Raised Valuation
Seed September 19, 2013 Spark Capital $2.8 million
Series A November 15, 2014 New Enterprise Associates $12.5 million
Series B June 19, 2016 Goldman Sachs Investment Partners $44 million
Series C December 11, 2018 Mary Meeker, Index Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz $250 million $2.65 billion
Series D April 7, 2021 Altimeter Capital $425 million $13.4 billion

Acquisitions edit

In January 2019, Plaid acquired competitor Quovo for $200 million.[23]

On January 13, 2020, Plaid announced that it had signed a definitive agreement to be acquired by Visa for $5.3 billion.[24][25] The deal was double the company's most recent Series C round valuation of $2.65 billion,[26] and was expected to close in the next 3–6 months, subject to regulatory review and closing conditions. Visa was to pay $4.9 billion in cash and approximately $400 million of retention equity and deferred equity,[27] according to a presentation deck prepared by Visa.[28]

Visa’s CEO Alfred Kelly described the acquisition as an "insurance policy" to neutralize a "threat to our important US debit business."[29]

On November 5, 2020, the United States Department of Justice filed a lawsuit seeking to block the acquisition, arguing that Visa is a monopolist trying to eliminate a competitive threat by purchasing Plaid. Visa said it disagreed with the lawsuit and "intends to defend the transaction vigorously."[30][31]

On January 12, 2021, Plaid announced the proposed merger agreement had been officially terminated almost exactly a year after its initial public announcement of the deal.[32]

In January 2022, Plaid announced it had acquired the identity verification and compliance platform, Cognito, for an undisclosed sum.[33]

Controversies edit

The company has faced controversy for scraping user data, impersonating bank login screens, and not properly disclosing the privacy risks associated with the service.[34] TD Bank filed a lawsuit against Plaid in 2020 accusing the company of trying to "dupe" its users.[35]

In 2021, Plaid settled a $58 million class action lawsuit over claims that it passed on personal banking data to third party firms without user consent. The settlement encompasses five separate lawsuits combined as one. Each claims that Plaid used consumers’ banking login credentials to gather and distribute detailed financial data without prior consent.[36]

Plaid has "exploited its position as middleman," the plaintiffs alleged. Approximately 98 million people are affected by the settlement. Claimants will be given the option to receive the settlement money automatically through payment platforms such as PayPal and Venmo.

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Kauflin, Jeff; Konrad, Alex (2021-04-07). "Plaid's $13.4 Billion Valuation Makes Its Founders Fintech's Newest Billionaires". Forbes. Archived from the original on 2021-04-07.
  2. ^ "Plaid | Company Overview & News". Forbes.
  3. ^ "Plaid – Press". Retrieved 2017-05-31.
  4. ^ "6 Fintechs Disrupting The Industry". 2017-01-26. Retrieved 2017-05-31.
  5. ^ "Every company is a fintech company". Fortune. Retrieved 2020-03-22.
  6. ^ Andriotis, Cara Lombardo and AnnaMaria (2020-01-14). "Visa to Pay $5.3 Billion for Fintech Startup". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2020-01-28.
  7. ^ Editorial Board (3 December 2020). "Opinion | Visa Is Doing What Big American Companies Do to 'Protect This Business'". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 December 2020.
  8. ^ "Visa and Plaid Abandon Merger After Antitrust Division's Suit to Block". 2021-01-12. Retrieved 2021-01-13.
  9. ^ "Fresh off a $2.65B valuation, Plaid co-founder William Hockey is leaving". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2020-03-22.
  10. ^ Velazco, Chris (28 April 2013). "Rambler Takes Home The Disrupt NY 2013 Hackathon Grand Prize, Learn To Drive And Radical Are Runners Up | TechCrunch". Retrieved 2017-05-31.
  11. ^ Ha, Anthony (19 September 2013). "Plaid Raises $2.8M To Make Banking Data More Developer Friendly | TechCrunch". Retrieved 2017-05-31.
  12. ^ "What is Plaid? | Plaid". Retrieved 2020-10-23.
  13. ^ "Is It Safe to Give an App Your Bank Password?". 17 July 2018.
  14. ^ "Plaid Signs Data Agreement with JPMorgan Chase".
  15. ^ "Plaid and U.S. Bank agree to share bank customer data through an API". 13 May 2021.
  16. ^ PYMNTS (2020-10-02). "Plaid Unveils New Link To Enhance Onboarding". Retrieved 2020-10-23.
  17. ^ Mason, Emily (2023-04-13). "Plaid Launches New Feature To Speed Up Bank Payments". Forbes. Archived from the original on 2023-04-14.
  18. ^ Schubarth, Cromwell (January 14, 2020). "Here are the Plaid investors who won big in its $5.3B sale to Visa". Silicon Valley Business Journal. Retrieved July 5, 2022.
  19. ^ Rooney, Kate (December 11, 2018). "Plaid's $250 million funding round propels it to $2.7 billion valuation". CNBC. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
  20. ^ Miller, Ron (September 16, 2019). "Plaid announces strategic investment from Mastercard and Visa". TechCrunch. Retrieved March 22, 2020.
  21. ^ "Plaid Inc". 美股之家. April 14, 2021.
  22. ^ Wilhelm, Alex (April 7, 2021). "Plaid raises $425M Series D from Altimeter as it charts a post-Visa future". Techcrunch.
  23. ^ Tesfaye, Mekebeb. "Plaid snags API competitor Quovo for $200 million". Business Insider. Retrieved 2020-01-25.
  24. ^ "Visa is acquiring Plaid for $5.3 billion, 2x its final private valuation". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2020-01-13.
  25. ^ "With Plaid Acquisition, Visa Makes A Big Play for the 'Plumbing' That Connects the Fintech World". Fortune. Retrieved 2020-01-28.
  26. ^ "What Plaid's $5.3 Billion Acquisition Means For The Future Of Fintech And Open Banking". 21 February 2020. Retrieved 2020-03-22.
  27. ^ Demos, Telis (2020-01-14). "Visa's Bet on Plaid Is Costly but Necessary". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2020-03-22.
  28. ^ "Visa to acquire crypto-serving fintech unicorn Plaid for $5.3B". 15 January 2020. Retrieved 2020-03-22.
  29. ^ Bursztynsky, Jessica (2021-01-12). "Visa abandons takeover of Plaid after DOJ raises antitrust concerns". CNBC. Retrieved 2021-01-13.
  30. ^ Noonan, Laura (2020-11-05). "US justice department sues to block Visa's $5.3bn Plaid takeover". Financial Times. Retrieved 2020-11-06.
  31. ^ "U.S. sues Visa to block its acquisition of Plaid". Reuters. 2020-11-05. Retrieved 2020-11-07.
  32. ^ "Visa and Plaid Announce Mutual Termination of Merger Agreement". 2021-01-12. Retrieved 2021-01-13.
  33. ^ McCurdy, Will (20 January 2022). "Plaid acquires compliance platform Cognito". FStech. Retrieved 2022-01-20.
  34. ^ B, Seanie (Aug 27, 2020). "About every 9 months I forget why I don't use".
  35. ^ Deschamps, Tara (2020-10-14). "TD Bank files lawsuit against Plaid, accusing it of trying to "dupe" consumers". CTVNews. Retrieved 2021-01-13.
  36. ^ "Plaid settles class-action lawsuit for $58 million". 6 August 2021.