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Exclusive: Fidel API names COO, opens San Francisco office

Fidel API's new COO, Salman Syed.

Salman Syed, Courtesy of Fidel API

Fidel API is naming former Marqeta executive Salman Syed as COO and is opening a San Francisco office, the company tells Axios, after raising $65 million in April in Series B funding.

Why it matters: The job change comes as the position of fintech COO has been increasingly in demand as a new crop of fintechs emerge and seek experienced executives able to bring products forward.

Background: San Francisco-based Syed previously spent nearly six years at card issuing platform Marqeta, where he was senior vice president of North America. There, he saw the company grow from around 60 employees to over 800.

  • At Fidel API, he's tasked with helping bring the startup to its next stage of growth, and with building out its U.S. presence. With about 160 employees, the company plans to have about 200 by end of year.
  • Much of his job will be "aligning people inside the organization around the right vision, the right goals, and making sure that we're all moving in a concerted effort," he said, noting the company's rapid growth.
  • Though largely Europe-based, some of Fidel API's largest customers are based out of the U.S., wrote CEO Dev Subrata in an email. The company already has in office in New York City.

How it works: Fidel API's technology gives developers at companies like Google, Royal Bank of Canada, and British Airways the ability to tap into real-time credit card transaction data from the likes of Visa and Mastercard.

  • That in turn can power features including instant rewards and loyalty points, personal finance management, and expense management.

Zooming out: The surge in demand for fintech COOs also comes as so-called blitzscaling, or rapid-spend strategies that were in vogue last year, have given way to a tighter focus on profits in 2022.

  • There's been a "growing need for help around vision and scaled growth versus growth at all cost," says Jonathan Pomeranz, head of fintech at executive search firm True Search. "Many of these leaders coming from scaled public companies."
  • Student-focused fintech Mos for example recently hired Harsh Gupta as Head of Operations from SoFi, while investing app Dub hired Brett Chereskin as COO from Affirm.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of the CEO's name.

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