Building a full-stack bank for innovators - Why we invested in Griffin

Article by Stephen Chandler and Melissa Donohoe

An ever-increasing number of companies are looking to embed financial products into their offering (“every company will become a FinTech” as A16z were famously quoted), but launching financial products is complex, time consuming and expensive. The emergence of new players along different parts of the Banking-as-a-Service (“BaaS”) stack in recent years is an attempt to solve this, but instead it has created a web of complex tech that is hard to patch together and limits flexibility – a full-stack platform is needed to help FinTechs and brands embrace embedded finance.

Griffin is building an API-first BaaS platform that combines SaaS like self-serve with the security of a licensed bank; bringing software and regulation together under one roof. This combination distinguishes them from both existing BaaS platforms on one hand and EMIs / software middleware on the other. Customers will be able to launch financial products (make a payment, issue a debit card or provide loans) all via an API call – think of it as AWS for financial services. 

The value of owning the full BaaS stack is huge (the embedded finance market is expected to be worth $3.6tn by 2030) and an ambitious endeavour: the first challenge is launching a fully integrated and regulated bank to build on; the second is delivering on their promise of an easy, self-service SaaS experience for launching financial products offered by the bank. 

The founder / market fit at Griffin is exceptional: it was founded by David Jarvis and Allen Rohner, who are both highly experienced in agile tech development and FinTech. Both US nationals but drawn to the UK banking sector by the opportunities that a supportive and proactive regulatory environment creates. David was a senior software engineer at various well known tech businesses including Airbnb and Standard Treasury as well as CircleCI, a Unicorn worth $1.7bn where he worked closely alongside Allen, the Co-Founder/CTO. Allen quite literally wrote the book on Clojure – the event-driven, immutable architecture Griffin is built on, which allows for fast integration, flexibility, auditability and error recovery.

We were impressed by the team David and Allen have assembled to go after this opportunity and the strong, values-driven culture that they have nurtured and sustained in their nascent years during the pandemic. This is augmented by some fantastic board members, advisers and angel investors, including William Hockey, co-founder of Plaid and founder and co-CEO of Column, Nilan Peiris, VP of Growth at Wise, Rob Straathof, CEO at Liberis and Shane Happach, CEO of Mollie and ex CCO Worldpay.

Since launching, Griffin has built the core-bank infrastructure and submitted its regulatory application. They are now focused on building out the product layer in anticipation of the license. Plenty of challenges doubtless lie ahead but the prize is huge - and we are looking forward to rolling our sleeves up to help them as much as we can.  

Why we chose Notion, a few words from David Jarvis, Co-founder & CEO

“We’ve always been very deliberate about choosing to work with capital partners who really understood Griffin’s vision and could bring real value to the table.” said David Jarvis, co-founder and CEO. “From the first conversation we had with Notion, it was clear how much we had to gain from working together. We’ve been blown away by the expertise that Stephen and the team have when it comes to scaling B2B tech firms, and we look forward to continuing to learn from them as we take Griffin into the future together.”

Similiar
Articles
you also may like to read
Why I invested in Cyscale
News
May 27, 2022
This is some text inside of a div block.
No items found.
TestGorilla - Cracking the code on predicting job success
News
January 26, 2022
This is some text inside of a div block.
No items found.
Similiar
Articles
you also may like to read

Get the latest from Notion Capital. Sign up to our newsletter.