Plaid’s accelerator FinRise reveals first five FinTech startups in its programme

FinTech firm Plaid unveiled the first cohort of startups in its new accelerator program, FinRise.

Of the hundreds of application, the firm chose five early-stage startups to join the programme which are focused on simplifying issues for the FinTech sector such as payments and access to credit. The equity-free and capital-free programme, which was launched in January this year, aims to back underrepresented founders in the sector.

More recently, Plaid was reportedly nearing a new financing deal that would value the company at $15bn. The firm even encountered a few regulatory challenges after which it scrapped a deal with Visa in what would have been a $5.3bn acquisition.

As part of the FinRise programme, the FinTech firm will advise the new cohort on how private startups can deal with policy issues.

Additionally, the young startups will get access to a number of potential capital partners and investors includes Accion, Acrew, Amex Ventures, Flourish, Harlem Capital, Kapor, Matrix, Village Capital, Visible Hands and First Round.

The cohort includes identity verification firm, Global Data Consortium. Co-founded by Bill Spruill and Charles Gaddy, the startup is building a data supplier network of more than 200 sources to build a standard of processes around digital identity verification. Companies benefit when they know customers’ true identities prior to doing business with them. Given how in many industries, knowing your customer isn‘t just a best practice, it’s a regulatory requirement, the firm aims to deliver easily in-depth coverage in real-time.

Second on the list is Guidefi which is a marketplace focused on connecting communities of colour as well as women to financial advisors to get capital. Led by Charlene Fadirepo, the financial wellness startup doesn’t charge for matches to advisors but only once services begin. Aiming to connect millennials with credible vetted financial advisors, users can simply sign up on the Guidefi Mobile App which then links them to the Guidefi Advisor Network.

Also in the list in Plaid’s programme is OfColor which wants to be the go-to enterprise wellness platform for employees of colour. The platform provides content, AI advice as well as banking tools built around how people of colour save, spend and build wealth. Founder Yemi Rose told TechCrunch that “a lot of companies we encounter generally pride themselves on being colour blind in their HR benefit practices, in spite of outcomes that show a different approach is needed…our biggest hurdle is education.” The startup raised $120,000 from MetLife Digital Accelerator and Techstars in September last year.

Next is Walnut, a point-of-sale lending platform that wants to make healthcare more affordable for patients. Competing with giants such as PrimaHealth Credit, the firm aims to “alleviate the burden of large healthcare bills,” it said. Founder and CEO Roshan Patel said, “Walnut is care-agnostic: no matter where you are in the healthcare system, you can use Walnut to break up your bill into an instalment plan that works for you. That can be at the dentist or cosmetic surgery practice, but it can also be in the emergency room or at your primary care physician.”

Lastly, the list includes Zeta which intends to build a better joint bank experience for couples. Zeta which makes it easier to join accounts and split purchases has already raised $1.5m in venture funding. “In some ways, we see ourselves as part of a replacement for Venmo,” CEO and co-founder Aditi Shekar said. “We saw couples Venmoing back and forth to each other sometimes six times a day…we want to take over your money chores.” From planning the first paycheck to paying for college debt and saving for real-estate to prepping for children, Zeta’s mission is to help couples and families manage money intelligently.

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