Fintech startup Plaid taps Booking.com exec to lead its European expansion
It was just a year ago we covered Plaid after the U.S.-based fintech startup raised $425 million in Series D round at a $13 billion valuation in its first funding after a scrapped $5.3 billion merger with Visa. In January 2020, payment giant Visa agreed to buy Plaid for $5.3 billion.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) later sued to block the deal alleging that it would create a monopoly and limit competition in the payments industry. Plaid has since moved on and continues to expand its footprint around the globe. Plaid also says that it’s planning an “aggressive” expansion in Europe this year. Plaid, which currently has 80 employees across the continent, is looking to hire more staff — including country managers for France and Germany.
To further achieve this goal, Plaid announced today it has hired Ripsy Bandourian as its first Head of Europe as it continues to rapidly expand across the continent. Ripsy joins from Booking.com and has previously held roles at Apple, McKinsey, and Goldman Sachs and will lead the business strategy and operations for Plaid’s Europe arm.
Based in Amsterdam, Ripsy will lead the business strategy and operations for Plaid’s Europe arm as it moves into its next stage of growth.
Having spent eight years at Booking.com, leading teams across product, marketing, and partnerships in Amsterdam, Ripsy has extensive experience in technology, operations, and driving consumer experiences at scale. Prior to Booking.com, Ripsy worked on emerging market strategy at Apple in London, was a consultant at McKinsey and began her career as a quantitative analyst at Goldman Sachs.
Ripsy’s appointment is crucial to growing Plaid’s European businesses and supporting fast-growing fintech and companies outside of financial services, as they respond to changing consumer behaviours in the region. Recent Plaid research found that more than one-third of people make mobile payments where previously they used a credit or debit card, and more people now use fintech than social media. With digital payment methods and embedded finance becoming more critical, more companies will turn to fintech to improve their customer experience and drive faster checkouts. As such, Plaid will enable these companies to unlock new opportunities to better serve their customers.
Ripsy’s appointment follows a period of significant growth for Plaid in Europe, highlighting the demand from customers wanting to use smoother and simpler methods to manage their finances. In the first quarter of 2022, Plaid doubled the number of payments completed on its platform, and grew its headcount by 30 percent. Plaid also recently added open banking payments capabilities for Italy, Ireland, and the Netherlands. In addition, Plaid offers Account Information Services for the UK, France, Germany, Ireland, and Spain and Payment Initiation Services in the UK, France, and Germany.
Eric Sager, COO of Plaid said, “As more companies outside of financial services turn to fintech to create new products that better fit their customer needs, Plaid plays a key role in helping them understand what local customers across different markets want and how fintech can play a role in better serving them. Ripsy’s background in new market expansion, partnerships, and improving customer experience will help drive Plaid’s continued growth across Europe.”
Ripsy Bandourian said, “The past two years have created intense shifts in how people in Europe interact with their money. Now, nearly every company with online customers is figuring out how to embed a digital financial service into its product. Having spent most of the last decade working with platforms and marketplaces, I aim to help Plaid harness this huge opportunity for growth and help companies across the region make sense of open banking and how they can leverage it to drive the adoption of products and services, as consumers increasingly turn to digital financial tools.”
Founded in 2012 by William Hockey and Zachary Perret, the San Francisco, California-based Plaid provides companies the tools and access needed for the development of a digitally-enabled financial system.
Plaid also allows other fintech startups like Venmo to connect to customers’ bank accounts so they can log in and share their financial data securely. The startup makes it easier and safer for developers — from the smallest startups to the largest financial institutions — to build innovative financial services and applications.