Plaid puts out a ‘request for startups’ in nine underserved fintech sectors
Plaid wants to make it easier for financial services companies to serve consumers and businesses, but it also sees significant holes in the fintech ecosystem. As a result, the company has issued a Y Combinator-like “request for startups” to tackle particular issues where it believes significant innovation is lacking.
In case you don’t know, Plaid is a kind of picks-and-shovels tool provider for the fintech developer community. Like Yodlee before it, Plaid enables startups and other tech companies to more easily connect with banks, credit card companies and other financial institutions, both to authenticate consumer accounts and access their financial data.
Basically, if you’ve ever used a third-party mobile app to analyze or manage your personal finances, chances are good that it was using Plaid to make that connection.
This means Plaid’s RFS is not an entirely altruistic proposal for the betterment of the fintech community — it’s also a not-so-subtle call for companies it doesn’t already know about to use its products.
That said, because Plaid has such a broad view of the fintech ecosystem — every company I’ve ever mentioned to the founders was already a customer — it also has a pretty good idea of what is missing. And that’s part of what’s driving the call for startups in these areas.
Borrowing from Y Combinator, which has published and updated its own “request for startups” list for several years, Plaid has put out a call for companies going after specific problems. But while YC has published its list as a way to funnel startups into its accelerator, Plaid is still working out what it will do with those companies once it finds them. According to founder and CEO Zach Perret, Plaid is still figuring out how it can help companies that fit into these categories the most.
“We think these things have a lot of opportunity and these are areas where we’d love to see new things exist,” Perret said. “We want to help build a community and lay the blueprint for what we think could be good businesses, or find out more about businesses that already exist.”
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