Killer Mike’s Greenwood Banking Platform Raises Nearly $ 40 Million in Series A Funding


The booming fintech startup – named after the turn-of-the-20th-century African-American business district in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which has earned the nickname “Black Wall Street” – has raised around $ 40 million in Series A funding since launching its website in October, according to a joint announcement unveiled Thursday.

“The challenge of the racial wealth gap can only be effectively met by a coalition focused on the mission of financial fairness,” Killer Mike told CNN Business via email Wednesday. “Greenwood’s Series A funding cycle is a major step towards the economic empowerment of Latino and Black individuals, families and businesses by bringing together multiple parts of finance and financial services to act in concert. “

Truist Bank, Bank of America (BAC) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) are among a growing list of large financial institutions now invested in Greenwood, which says it was forced to postpone its scheduled January launch date due to 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 following the murder of George Floyd last year. .

“Now we have over 600,000 people who have joined our waiting list,” Glover told CNN Business. “It really is a testament to the need for financial empowerment of the black and Latin community.”

Truist Bank (TFC) says he became Greenwood’s primary investor following the unveiling of the fintech platform in October. The Charlotte-based commercial bank was the first large institution to learn about investing in Greenwood, according to company executives, who said other large investors understood MasterCard (MY), Visa (V), Wells fargo (CBEAX), Flexible bank (SFTBF)SB Opportunity Fund, PNC and Banco Popular.
VC firms Lightspeed Venture Partners and TTV Capital followed suit with another fintech firm FIS, and the private equity division Quality Ventures. Actor Jesse williams and New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara also joined Greenwood’s investment team.
Vanessa Vreeland, who heads Truist’s venture capital division, Truist Ventures, says her employer strongly believes in Greenwood’s mission of financial empowerment and closing the racial wealth gap between white Americans and most people. of color.

“We try to solve this problem in different ways, but we haven’t seen anyone try to solve it from that type of angle,” Vreeland told CNN Business.

Glover said Greenwood was on track to launch its online debit and expense account services in July. The company plans to roll out its loan and credit account services by the end of this year and will unveil its investment product offerings sometime in 2022.

Greenwood has also made several recent hires, including the former Brightwell Compliance Officer. lynn cherry, who joined the Glover and Render team in January.

Glover said he expects the company’s current workforce of seven to grow to a team of 40 by the end of the year.

Does Greenwood still belong to Black and Latinx?

Glover said Greenwood’s new backers had not changed the company’s focus on blacks and Latin Americans with their own financial institutions. He said Greenwood still maintains its plan to work primarily through Black and Latinx-owned minority depositories and community development financial institutions to provide its digital account and loan services. The company plans to announce who its MDI partners are ahead of its official launch this summer.

“We are still predominantly black and Latin American,” Glover said. “It’s just important for us to stay consistent with that fact as part of our DNA.”

Vreeland said regulatory controls prevent investors like Truist from influencing the management of Greenwood, but the fact that so many big banks and other investors want to support Greenwood shows just how viable the company and its mission have become.

“It really legitimizes these guys as serious players in space,” she said.

Greenwood may be in a minority, but Render and Glover emphasized that it is a bank for all Americans who support its mission of financial empowerment.

“It’s a black bank that serves the diversity of people,” Render said. “We want to jump in the pool, be a competitor and help bring banking back to our community to create businesses that are better for the greater good.”

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Michael C. Sumner