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Plaid CEO talks fundraising and IPO status

Jun 10, 2022
Plaid CEO Zach Perret

Photo: George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Plaid is not actively fundraising, has four-plus years of runway, and has no plans for an IPO. Those were some of the key takeaways from my interview with CEO Zach Perret at an Axios Pro Live event on Thursday.

Why it matters: Fintech winter is upon us. With the IPO window closed and fundraising harder to come by, having funds to weather the storm will be key to any startup’s survival.

Driving the news: Most pandemic-era fintech IPOs are underwater. Some companies are rescinding job offers. Others are raising down rounds. But Plaid will not be one of them, according to Perret.

  • “We are not actively raising, and our runway is many years — I think last I checked, it was something like four-plus years,” he said.
  • And when asked about the possibility of going public, he added: “We don't have a specific IPO timeframe in mind … We're not in the market. We're not talking about it.”

Yes, but: As a fintech selling to other fintechs, Plaid has to think about how the macro environment is affecting its customers, particularly stock trading or crypto companies seeing slower user growth due to economic uncertainty.

  • “In the short term, we're seeing lower volumes. We're seeing fewer users wanting to sign up. But I think we saw a fundamental sea change in the way that consumers think about investing,” Perret said.
  • But in other segments of its customer base, the company sees an uptick in consumer demand for managing their finances and getting out of debt.
  • “We have a really broad portfolio of companies that we work with, and there's a lot of variability based on the outcomes that we're seeing right now,” he said.

The intrigue: Last month, payments heavyweight Stripe launched a new data connectivity tool that, on its surface, would compete directly with Plaid’s core business.

  • After a brief Twitter flap in which Perret accused a Stripe product manager of unsavory tactics in developing the product, the companies appeared to bury the hatchet.
  • On Thursday, he was a bit more sanguine: “Competition is not zero-sum here … I expect that Stripe entering the market will continue to expand the market in many senses.”
  • “The process and the way [Stripe announced the product] was a little bit different than I might have expected. However, long-term, this is an expansive market and we're excited for continued innovation in fintech,” Perret added.

Of note: Unlike some other CEOs, Perret has no plans to move into an executive chair role anytime soon.

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