4. Harit Talwar, Marcus
Goldman Sachs has long been known as an enthusiastic investor in fintech (or just tech) startups, with companies like Circle, Cadre, Financeit, Oscar and even Uber. But this year, the company shifted from being a mere investor to joining the fray as a fintech player, announcing the launch of its online lending arm Marcus.
For starters, Marcus will only accept applications from current Goldman clients, who will receive a special code by mail (fancy!). Despite the shaky year that marketplace lending has had, Marcus has its parent’s assets to fall back on. Another asset for the new online lending arm is great talent. Goldman brought in Harit Talwar, the former president of the US credit card business at Discover Financial Services, last year in order to help spearhead the marketplace lending venture. And Talwar has been quick to surround himself with execs from top tech companies and lending rivals, including Lending Club, PayPal, and even the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Following the full rollout, Marcus will target prime borrowers, offering loans in the $3,500 to $30,000 range.
5. Steven Streit, Green Dot
If you think you’ve had a rough year, see if you can measure up to Green Dot’s Steven Streit. Streit was almost ousted as the CEO, lost his position as the company’s chairman as a result, and had to deal with thousands of customers that were temporarily unable to access their own money — all in less than a year’s span.
But all the problems were left behind midyear, and for Green Dot 2016 became the year of rideshare and the gig economy. Following a successful collaboration with Uber – first for providing a GoBank account for Uber drivers, and later for enabling Instant Payout service – the bank’s CEO, Steven Streit, says there are still plenty of growth opportunities in faster payments and the on-demand or gig economy.
“The Green Dot asset stack is really quite unique and special; deep fintech and payments expertise, high-scale comprehensive program management, and a well-capitalized bank that can move as fast as our Silicon Valley partners,” Streit said during the company’s earnings call last month. “We think we have real opportunities in this whole 1099, faster payments, instant money processing space, and we’re pursuing our strategy to address opportunities as we see them.”
6. Jay Sidhu, Customers Bank/BankMobile
Customers Bancorp, the parent company of Customers Bank and BankMobile, just celebrated an important milestone: the company achieved a market capitalization of $1 billion on Dec. 6, following a 7.6% jump in Customers share value on the New York Stock Exchange a day prior. “In the seven years since we started the company, Customers has grown its market value from roughly $10 million – a testament to the success of our customer-focused banking model,” Sidhu said in a statement.
But besides growing in value, the bank also figured out a way to appeal to the most sought-after clientele: millennials. Together with his millennial daughter, Luvleen Sidhu, Jay Sidhu launched BankMobile – a digital-only millennial-focused fee-free bank. The bank aims to win over millennials with Facebook contests, a lifestyle blog, campus trips, and frequent focus groups. In less than two years since its existence, the bank announced another massive milestone this year: two million customers. What’s the target? One billion customers, the father-daughter duo announced at Bank Innovation Israel event last year.
7. Patrick Collison, Stripe
Stripe’s story is a dream come true for any fintech startup (or any startup at all). The payments platform – which is reportedly eyeing an IPO – helps companies such as Target, Lyft, Twitter or Salesforce process payments through credit cards or other tools, such as mobile wallets or Bitcoin. In the six years of its existence, the company is now valued at $9.2 billion, which, Forbes argues, makes the co-founder brothers – Patrick and John Collison – worth at least $1.1 billion each. The latest funding round closed last month, and was led by CapitalG, an investment firm and subsidiary of Alphabet.
San Francisco-based Stripe is also striving to facilitate financial access and inclusion globally – a mission that Patrick Collison is involved in personally. “The promise of the internet is that geography should be largely irrelevant,” he said in a company post. “But that’s not yet true: the majority of the world’s population lives in a country where they don’t have access to high-quality banking or payments infrastructure.”10 - Readers Like This Post