Axios Pro Exclusive Content

Plaid CEO calls out Stripe over new product

Lucinda Shen
May 5, 2022
Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Fintech decacorns Stripe and Plaid got into a he-said-she-said spat on Twitter on Wednesday, revolving around a Stripe product launch.

Why it matters: The methods behind Stripe's fast expansion across the fintech industry have now been called out by two founders, who allege the company is not being transparent.

Background: Stripe, last valued at $95 billion, released a product on Wednesday that looks like the one that made Plaid a $13.5 billion company.

  • The API product allows merchants to connect directly to their customers' bank accounts — giving Stripe merchants the ability to see into their users' financial data and speed up some transactions.
  • For Plaid, its API product has become the underpinning for a good swath of the fintech ecosystem, allowing companies like Venmo to operate.

Driving the news: The issue at hand is how Stripe has carried out its expansion, with some peers calling a foul. Plaid CEO Zach Perret accused Stripe on Wednesday of unsavory tactics in developing the API product.

  • "Wow! Jay, you took interviews with Plaid & asked probing questions multiple times over the past few years, and your team sent repeated Requests for Proposals's (under NDA!) to us asking for tons of detailed data," Perret posted on Twitter.
  • "I wish y'all the best with these products, but surprising to see the methods."
  • Bolt founder Ryan Breslow also chimed in on Wednesday, throwing his support behind Plaid and throwing shade at Stripe.

What they're saying: Jay Shah, the product manager who announced Stripe's API product, hit back. He refuted Perret's claims and said Stripe "did an RFP because we work with partners for this product, and we had hoped to include Plaid."

  • His conversations outside of the RFP “had no probing on Plaid’s business,” he added.

The intrigue: Stripe is working with direct Plaid competitors Finicity and MX on the API product.

Reading between the lines: Though the products look quite similar, the question is if Stripe's will take customers away from Plaid.

  • "From what I've seen, a lot of Stripe products sell into their existing customer base," says Sheel Mohnot of Better Tomorrow Ventures, noting Stripe itself is better known for its e-commerce customers.

Stripe and Plaid declined to comment for this article.

Editor’s note: This item has been updated to correct the context of Shah’s conversations about Plaid.

Go deeper