Plaid brings on CFO as IPO nears

Plaid, a US financial technology start-up, has reached a significant milestone on its path to going public by appointing its first Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Eric Hart. Hart, the former CFO of Expedia, is joining Plaid a year after departing from the travel group. His appointment fills a crucial role in Plaid’s preparations for an initial public offering (IPO), a goal the company’s co-founder and CEO, Zach Perret, has set without specifying a timeline.

Eric Hart sees similarities between Plaid’s role in the digitisation of financial services and his prior experience at Expedia, which was a key player in the digitisation of travel. Plaid’s business has thrived amid the pandemic, as it enables customers to link their bank accounts to external applications like money transfer apps and online mortgage lenders, facilitating the sharing of necessary data.

Notable Plaid customers include Venmo, Shopify, and Google, and the company last secured private funding at a valuation exceeding $13 billion in 2021. However, the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise interest rates subsequently impacted the valuations of many tech companies.

Plaid’s investors include Silver Lake Partners, Ribbit Capital, and the asset management arms of financial institutions like JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and American Express.

Eric Hart, who oversaw various acquisitions during his tenure at Expedia, including those of vacation rental service Vrbo and booking site Orbitz, did not comment on Plaid’s specific IPO plans. However, he emphasised the importance of establishing robust processes, procedures, and compliance within the organisation, which would position Plaid favourably for an IPO when the time is right.

The US IPO market faced challenges over the past year, but recent activity, including high-profile listings such as Birkenstock, Arm, and Instacart, has shown signs of renewed activity. While these companies garnered strong IPO prices, their subsequent trading performance has been mixed. Plaid’s path to going public will be closely watched, given its prominence in the US fintech sector and its previous merger discussions with Visa in 2021.

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