DiversityFintechPayments

Plaid launches incubator aimed at early-stage underrepresented fintech founders

The nine-month program aims to help entrepreneurs with capital, resources

Fintech Plaid is launching a nine-month incubator for early-stage startup fintech founders who are Black, Indigenous, or people of color called FinRise.

The incubator was inspired from an internal hackathon, Plaiderdays, during the Black Lives Matter protests last summer. San Francisco-based Plaid powers fintech apps from the likes of Robinhood, Square and Venmo.

Plaid wants to “to unlock financial freedom for everyone by empowering entrepreneurs and innovators. We want to create a fintech ecosystem that consists of more voices rather than fewer,” read the blog post by Plaid Growth Manager Nell Malone and Design Manager Bhargavi Kamakshivalli.

The program aims to help founders with access to capital and services, resources to accelerate growth and ongoing mentorship and support. The entrepreneurs in the accelerator will participate in a three-day virtual bootcamp and then will have access to ongoing support over a nine-month period. For instance, the founders will have an account manager, an internal network for guidance on various topics and mentorship from Plaid leaders.

The program is accepting startups that have at least two employees and a founder, operates in fintech, but has a part of its company focused on consumer business finance data, Malone told TechCrunch. Additionally, the program is accepting three to five post-seed and pre-Series B tech startups with a product in beta stage, TechCrunch reported.

The deadline to apply is Feb. 21 and the first bootcamp will kick off this spring.

Malone and Kamakshivalli said in the blog post that many minority-owned businesses often are denied access to resources needed to start and expand businesses. For instance, Black-owned companies are twice as likely to have not have their credit needs met and often experience more scrutiny while applying for loans, the blog post read citing a report by the Small Business Administration.

“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,” Malone and Kamakshivalli wrote.

Meanwhile, Plaid, which is fresh off of its breakup with Visa, is said to be eyeing the public markets.

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