All hail the (eventual) Plaid IPO

News that fintech startup Plaid hired a CFO has kicked off a round of “When will it go public?” chatter. The answer is not soon, something that we can infer from the fact that it only just hired a CFO. Still, hiring C-suite financial talent is a known step on the well-trod path from private startup to public company.

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What’s fun about Plaid is that the company has had an interesting life thus far. Its erstwhile deal to sell itself to Visa back in 2020 affixed a $5.3 billion price tag to the concern (including earn-outs), before that transaction zeroed itself out.

Next, Plaid raised a mountain of capital. Locking in a $425 million Series D in April 2021, Plaid was suddenly worth around $13.4 billion. That’s quite the valuation step-up.

But like many fintech startups that raised big rounds in 2021, Plaid later had to slow down a little. Layoffs of around 20% of its staff in 2022 were enacted, presenting a slimmer Plaid this year. At the time, Plaid CEO Zach Perret wrote the following to his team (emphasis added):

The simple reality is that due to these macroeconomic changes, our pace of cost growth outstripped our pace of revenue growth. I made the decision to hire and invest ahead of revenue growth, and the current economic slowdown has meant that this revenue growth did not materialize as quickly as expected.


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