Last Updated on August 18, 2023
Meet the founders behind the companies shaping today’s fintech industry
Fintech has become a booming industry, pushing established financial institutions to adapt to changing consumer desires and the reliance on technology. Immigrants have either founded or co-founded several of today’s well-known fintech companies. Envoy Insights has previously discussed the important role immigrants have in contributing to and shaping America’s economy, and the following companies demonstrate how they are helping to shape various areas of the financial industry.
Four immigrant-led businesses shaping the fintech industry:
Robinhood Markets Inc.
Two individuals with immigrants co-founded Robinhood. Vlad Tenev was born in Bulgaria, while Baiju Bhatt is the son of Indian immigrants. Bhatt and Tenev met while studying at Stanford. This fintech company popularized the idea of commission-free stock trading when it was released in 2013. Users noticed the sleek mobile application and the ease in which they could buy and sell stocks, not to mention that $0 fee. This was a novel concept since brokerages typically charged $1 to $50 in commission fees, according to CNBC. That all changed when investors, particularly millennials just starting their investment journeys, flocked to Robinhood due to its no fee policy. Robinhood’s success since 2013 led to a seismic shift in the brokerage industry in the fall of 2019. Established brokerages and financial institutions such as Charles Schwab, Fidelity and E-Trade all rapidly announced $0 commissions.
Credit Karma is a personal finance company that offers financial reports, insights and free credit scores for individuals. Recently, they’ve expanded into the online savings realm by offering a high-yield savings account. One of the company’s founders is Kenneth Lin, who arrived in the U.S. as a child with his family from China at the age of four. Flash forward to 2007: Lin founded Credit Karma and since then, the company has millions of users and according to Crunchbase, has raised approximately $900 million over seven funding rounds.
Corporations have credit cards. But what about startups? Henrique Dubugras and Pedro Franceschi, both Brazilian natives, founded their startup, Brex, in the spring of 2017. They moved to Silicon Valley in 2016 to pursue an education at Stanford before dropping out to focus on Brex. Their company is unique in the fintech space. When founders of new companies need access to corporate credit cards but may not have the financial resources for a deposit or personal guarantee, Brex can provide that credit. Since its founding, Brex has caught the attention of investors. In Oct. 2018, Brex was valued at $1.1 billion, according to TechCrunch.
Any list of fintech startups with immigrant founders and CEOs isn’t complete without a mention of Stripe. Co-founded by brothers Patrick and John Collison, Stripe has become the de-facto leader in payment processing. Stripe’s technology helps companies receive and process online payments. Millions of companies use the platform, such as Spotify, Uber, Salesforce and Target. The Collison brothers, born in Ireland, founded Stripe in 2010 and received funding from Y Combinator. Stripe’s valuation in 2012 was $100 million. Moving forward to 2019, and the company is now valued at $35 billion, according to CNBC. These companies are only a handful of fintech startups that are experiencing large amounts of growth and success. More so, they are just a small selection of startups with immigrant leaders or founders. Immigrants play a vital role in shaping America’s economy, and they also play an important role disrupting existing new industries by creating services and products used by millions of Americans and businesses.
Envoy is pleased to provide you this information prepared in collaboration with Emma Ramirez, who is a Managing Attorney at Global Immigration Associates, P.C. (www.giafirm.com), Envoy’s affiliated law firm.