Nine-time NBA All-Star Russell Westbrook joins Varo as advisor and invests capital to support its growth

Digital banking platform Varo Bank has netted $63m as it looks to build a range of new banking features for customers.

This investment comes alongside a strategic partnership with nine-time NBA All-Star Russell Westbrook. Westbrook has joined the company as an advisor where he will support the direction of Varo’s impact programmes inclusive of communities of colour and African American communities.

The round was led by Russell Westbrook Enterprises and joins the company’s existing investors Warburg Pincus, The Rise Fund, Gallatin Point Capital, HarbourVest Partners, and funds managed by BlackRock.

The investment round will be used to continue the development of it product roadmap, which includes additional credit, savings, and transaction banking features.

Varo, which is America’s first all-digital nationally chartered bank, aims to have a measurable impact on financial inequality and address issues of access, fairness and fees that often had a discriminatory value. The FinTech was built to offer affordable banking services to all Americans.

Russell Westbrook said, “The banking system has ignored or underserved a large portion of the American population – particularly communities of colour. I’m passionate about making lasting social change and creating a stronger and more inclusive system.

“I am excited and ready to work with Varo to be a part of an economic revitalization for those who never had the access they deserved.”

By working together, Varo hopes it can reform banking with the latest technology, inclusive design and a social impact focus.

Varo Bank founder and CEO Colin Walsh said, “The Varo team is thrilled Russell is joining us on our trailblazing journey as the only all-digital, mission-driven national bank in the country.

“We both share a view that banking can be – and needs to be – a force for good. Russell is a visionary and his energy and passion for design, product excellence, and community impact will help propel Varo’s next phase of growth. “Working together will accelerate our efforts to reimagine banking for all of us.”

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