Marqeta, one of the fintechs that achieved supernova status fueled by the pandemic last year, recently went public. According to the company’s Founder and CEO Jason Gardner, this was not necessarily in the cards, but the IPO made sense after the company’s meteoric growth in 2020. Thanks to the company’s rise over the past year, the IPO was a big success, anointing Gardner as the latest fintech billionaire.
As a self-touted “world’s first modern card issuing platform,” Marqeta was founded in 2010. Starting out by giving customers prepaid loyalty cards to supermarkets, Marqeta then zeroed in on a focus to change the game within the debit card issuing and processing space. Its technology went on to give companies that issue cards to workers or customers more control over which transactions are approved. This model became pivotal with the on-demand delivery sector, with companies like DoorDash and Instacart being among the fintech’s first customers. Throughout the 11 years of the company’s existence, Gardner has cycled its operations through three iterations prior to settling down on the flexible application programming interface (API) system that it markets today.
During the pandemic, the company and its 500 employees quickly grappled with the demand for its services as it took on bigger and bigger customers such as “buy now, pay later” startups Affirm and Klarna, and later, Square and Uber. The pandemic enabled Marqeta to scale at a rapid pace, riding the wave of financial technology, e-commerce, and the gig economy as it rose. As a result, the company’s net revenue doubled to $290.3 million in 2020, up from $143.3 million in 2019. With its revenue coming from transaction fees, Marqeta relies on volume for success. 2020 saw the company process 1.6 billion transactions, with 57 million active cards by the end of the year.
Marqeta’s IPO saw shares rising by 13% to $30.50 on the first day alone, bringing the company’s market capitalization to over $16 billion. Its listing was considered among the most valuable for a fintech so far in 2021, a year that has been considered a “gold mine IPO year for the sector” according to Forbes.