Two persons of color brainstorming ideas


March 24, 2021

Introducing Plaid’s Accelerate Class of 2021

Nell Malone & Bhargavi Kamakshivalli

We’re excited to announce Plaid Accelerate's inaugural cohort of five early-stage fintech startups

A few months ago, we announced the launch of Accelerate, an incubator program to empower early-stage founders who are Black, Indigenous, or People of Color with foundational support in their entrepreneurial journey. Our vision as a company has always been to power a financial ecosystem that serves everyone, and our Accelerate program is an extension of that. 

Since launch, we’ve received over 100 applications and offers to support our efforts from the broader ecosystem – all affirming our commitment to the Accelerate program and our drive to promote a more diverse and inclusive fintech ecosystem. 

We received applications from founders with use cases varying from payments, to financial literacy, to ecommerce. Our selection process was two fold: an initial review from the core Accelerate program team and an additional review from an independent Internal Advisory Board, evaluating applicants based on our core criteria ¹, recommended stage ², and the ability for the Accelerate program to provide value.

Meet our cohort

Today, we’re excited to announce our inaugural cohort of five early-stage fintech startups that are working to simplify payments, build wealth, improve access to credit, and improve financial wellness for everyone:

  • Global Data Consortium - Global identity verification API offering both eKYC and eKYB verification for businesses.Learn more

  • Guidefi - Financial wellness marketplace connecting communities of color to vetted, culturally attuned financial advisors.Learn more

  • OfColor - Enterprise financial wellness platform for employees of color including personalized PFM and loans that allow them to maximize their 401k contribution.Learn more

  • Walnut - Point-of-sale lending platform that works with medical providers to make healthcare more affordable for patients.Learn more

  • Zeta - Financial products and tools for couples and families.Learn more

What’s next

The Accelerate program will kick off with a three-day bootcamp consisting of nine workshops covering topics from navigating the policy and regulatory environment to defining a marketing and communications strategy. Following the bootcamp, startups in the cohort will be paired with internal Plaid mentors to provide tactical advice around the building and scaling of their products. Founders will also have access to a skillshare network which will provide ongoing guidance relevant to the nine workshop topics, and a dedicated account manager to help guide product development on Plaid. 

Over the nine months, we’ll continue to host workshops and networking opportunities with external partners to provide even more touchpoints for the startups in our cohort in addition to access to discounted services and credits from our network partners. Thank you to all of our current and new capital and network partners supporting the program.

For those not selected

While our priority today is to focus on delivering a high impact program for the selected startups in our cohort, we’ll also be looking at opportunities to offer Accelerate program support at scale. To start, all Accelerate program applicants will have access to discounts and credits from our supportive network partners. 

Thanks to our partners

We believe that it is a shared responsibility to create a financial system that works for everyone. The Accelerate program reflects this ethos by leveraging the experience of Plaids all across the company and partners across the broader ecosystem. As the program evolves, we look forward to deepening relationships with existing partners, expanding the scope of our partnerships, and leveraging what we learn from the program to better support all startups building on Plaid. Special thanks to our core partners who have helped us build and evolve this program.

¹ U.S.-based company, founders have majority-ownership, at least one founder identifies as Black, Indigenous, or a Person of Color, 2+ employees, founders are 18+ years old
² Post-seed, pre-Series B; product in Beta