Silicon Valley’s Plaid heads to the U.K., undeterred by Brexit

Fintech startup Plaid Inc. is expanding its footprint into the U.K., a region it believes could eventually match the U.S. in terms of revenue, despite political uncertainty.

Founded in 2012, San Francisco-based Plaid helps customers and banks transmit data back and forth. The service has caught the attention of major investors, including Andreessen Horowitz and Kleiner Perkins, garnering a valuation of $2.65 billion last year.

The startup allows digital finance companies, like PayPal Holdings Inc. or Betterment LLC, to more easily link with consumers’ existing bank accounts. The company currently works with more than 15,000 banks in the U.S. and Canada. The U.K. will be its first overseas expansion.

Plaid co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Zach Perret said he has been “impressed” by the startups in the U.K.’s financial technology industry. “The U.K market could be a major challenger to the U.S.” in terms of revenue for the company, Perret said.

A few months ago, Plaid acquired rival fintech startup Quovo, which had already been approved to operate in the U.K. That license will transfer over to Plaid, the company said.

During the first three months of 2019, Europe as a whole saw more venture capital funding for fintech companies than Asia for the first time in more than a year, according to a recent report from CB Insights. (The U.S. is still No. 1 for funding.) Even with the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, and the possibility of a shifting landscape for financial companies, U.K. fintech companies continued to lead Europe in terms funding, taking in $645 million in the first quarter.

Perret said the fintech activity in the U.K. made it appealing place to open up shop, calling London and the surrounding area an “incredible ecosystem” for the industry. “We are actively hiring in the U.K. and have a number of people on the ground there already,” Perret said.

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