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Plaid’s fintech accelerator FinRise announces inaugural cohort

TechCrunch | Natasha Mascarenhas |

Acceleration - Plaid's fintech accelerator FinRise announces inaugural cohort

Plaid, the fintech giant, has announced the inaugural cohort of startups in its new accelerator program, FinRise.

The equity-free and capital-free program has chosen five early-stage fintech startups out of 100 applications to join its cohort, working on issues central to the financial services industry such as simplifying payments and access to credit. The accelerator, announced two months ago, is explicitly focused on backing underrepresented founders in tech.

Last week, The Information reported that Plaid is nearing a new financing deal that would value the company at between $10 billion to $15 billion. Beyond a high valuation, Plaid sports a key characteristic that positions it well to help early-stage startups: it has gone through regulatory hurdles. Months ago, Plaid announced it would not merge with Visa in what would have been a $5.3 billion acquisition. This event, as well as advice on how private fintech startups can deal with policy issues, will be part of FinRise programming.

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While participants don’t get funding, FinRise has collated a number of “capital access partners,” which basically means investors who are committed to meeting with these companies and potentially writing a check. This network includes Accion, Acrew, Amex Ventures, Flourish, Harlem Capital, Kapor, Matrix, Village Capital, Visible Hands and First Round.

Here’s a look at the five startups:

  • Global Data Consortium is building a process for global digital identity verification for businesses. Co-founded by Bill Spruill and Charles Gaddy, the startup is building a data supplier network of more than 200 sources to help build a standard of processes around digital identity verification. “As we continue to scale our platform it’s important to make sure our technical infrastructure continues to be enterprise-ready. Plaid’s engineering expertise and knowledge will prove useful to our team to help us plan and execute around our next level of service support architecture,” Spruill told TechCrunch.
  • Guidefi is a marketplace focused on connecting communities of color to culturally savvy financial advisors. Led by Charlene Fadirepo, the financial wellness startup doesn’t charge for matches to advisors, but only charges money once services begin.
  • OfColor wants to be the go-to enterprise wellness platform for employees of color. Founder Yemi Rose tells TechCrunch that “a lot of companies we encounter generally pride themselves on being colorblind in their HR benefit practices, in spite of outcomes that show a different approach is needed…our biggest hurdle is education.” The startup focuses on features like a personalized financial manager as well as loans that allow employees to maximize their 401(k) contribution.

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