Atlanta Rapper Michael ‘Killer Mike’ Render and co-founder Ryan Glover introduced their digital banking platform Greenwood last year and some big names in finance have jumped on board.
The fintech startup named after the Tulsa, Oklahoma, district known as Black Wall Street, raised around $40 million in Series A funding since its launch in October. Truist, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase headline a list of major financial institutions that have invested in Greenwood.
The digital bank was forced to delay its January launch due to its overwhelming demand. More than 500,000 people have signed up for an account with Greenwood. Other major investors in Greenwood include Mastercard, Wells Fargo, SoftBank, PNC, and Banco Popular.
Vanessa Vreeland, who heads Truist’s capital division said the bank believes in Greenwood’s mission of financial freedom, empowerment, and closing the racial wealth gap.
“We are trying to solve this problem in a number of different ways, but we hadn’t seen anyone trying to solve it from this type of angle,” Vreeland told CNN Business.
Glover and Render have big plans for Greenwood’s future including increasing the number of its employees, but expanding won’t change the bank’s mission or focus to work through Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs) and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs).
Render became a huge voice in the resurgence
of the Black Lives Matter movement and in the Georgia political scene in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election. Render held several events with Sen. Bernie Sanders who he endorsed
for the election.
According to the Brookings Institute, the wealth gap between Black and white Americans has only grown
due to the coronavirus pandemic
. Factors such as education, industry, and the ability to telecommute during the pandemic only made the wealth gap larger. “The net worth of a typical white family is nearly ten times greater than that of a Black family and eight times greater than that of a Latino family. This wealth gap is a curable injustice that requires collaboration,” Glover said in a statement
to TechCrunch. “The backing of six of the top seven banks and the two largest payment technology companies is a testament to the contemporary influence of the Black and Latino community. We now are even better positioned to deliver the world-class services our customers deserve.”