Some of the biggest names in finance are betting big on the success of Greenwood, the digital banking platform introduced last year by co-founders Ryan Glover and rapper/activist Michael “Killer Mike” Render.
The burgeoning fintech startup — named for the early 20th century African-American business district in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that earned the nickname “Black Wall Street” — has raised roughly $40 million in Series A funding since its website launched in October, according to a joint announcement unveiled Thursday.
“The challenge of the racial wealth gap can only be effectively addressed by a coalition focused on the mission of financial equity,” Killer Mike told CNN Business via email Wednesday. “Greenwood’s Series A funding round is a major step towards economic empowerment to Latino and Black individuals, families, and businesses by assembling multiple parties in finance and financial services to act in concert.”
Truist Bank, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase are among a growing list of major financial institutions now invested in Greenwood, which says it was forced to delay its planned January launch date because of overwhelming demand after more than 500,000 people signed up for an account before launch.
Glover says the timing for Greenwood, which he’s been working on since 2018, couldn’t have been more perfect following the cultural movement to support Black-owned businesses that began in the wake of the George Floyd killing last year.
“Now we have closer to 600,000 folks that have joined our wait list,” Glover told CNN Business. “That’s just truly a testament to the need in the Black and Latinx community for financial empowerment.”
Truist Bank says it became Greenwood’s lead investor following the fintech platform’s October unveil. The Charlotte-based commercial bank was the first major institution to inquire about investing in Greenwood, according to company leaders, who said other major investors include Mastercard, Visa, Wells Fargo, Soft Bank’s SB Opportunity Fund, PNC and Banco Popular.
Venture capital firms Lightspeed Venture Partners and TTV Capital followed suit along with fellow fintech firm FIS, and private equity division Quality Ventures. Actor Jesse Williams and New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara have also joined Greenwood’s investment team.
Vanessa Vreeland, who heads Truist’s venture capital division, Truist Ventures, says her employer believes strongly in Greenwood’s mission of financial empowerment and closing the racial wealth gap between White Americans and most people of color.
“We are trying to solve this problem in a number of different ways, but we hadn’t seen anyone trying to solve it from this type of angle,” Vreeland told CNN Business.
Glover said Greenwood is on track to launch its online debit and spending account services some time in July. The company plans to roll out its lending and credit account services by the end of this year and will unveil its investment product offerings some time in 2022.
Greenwood also made a number of recent hires, including former Brightwell chief compliance officer Lynn Cherry, who joined Glover and Render’s team in January.
Glover said he plans for the company’s current headcount of seven to grow to a team of 40 by the end of the year.
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