Plaid, the financial technology startup that enables fintech companies to access consumers banking data with their permission, is in a state of flux.
Earlier this summer, Plaid, which has a valuation of more than $2.5 billion, announced the departure of William Hockey, co-founder, chief technology officer, and president. Hockey is staying on as a board member and his duties are being handled by the executive team including CEO Zach Perret.
While the departure of a co-founder at a startup typically happens if the company lacks experience or is in financial trouble, in the case of Plaid, it was planned out during the past couple of years. “In tech, it has historically been taboo to talk about founders or executives transitioning to different roles inside companies,” Hockey wrote in a blog post in June. “Leadership transitions need to become a bedrock of any company that desires to endure across decades.”
Plaid is still in good hands thanks to 27-year old Perret who started the fintech company with Hockey back in 2012. In responding to the departure of Hockey, Perret put it this way on Twitter: “Most companies should be constantly running at least one exec search. Post-product/market fit, the limiting factor to scale generally derives from some version of not having enough great leaders.”
Perret should know. He did a stint as a consultant at Bain Capital where he focused on technology M&A before creating Plaid with Hockey. He was also a research fellow at Duke for four years where he focused on software control systems for optical microscopy. He studied physics and chemistry at the university.
The executive shakeup comes at a time when Plaid is firing on all cylinders. At the end of 2018, the fintech company raised $250 million in Series C round of funding at a valuation of $2.65 billion. Mark Meeker, the well-known tech investor led the investment round. It has raised $310 million in funding from VCs and counts Andreessen Horowitz, Index Ventures and Coatue Management as backed. Its technology works with around 15,000 U.S. and Canadian banks. The company has more than 300 employees, has three offices and more than $10 billion in transactions analyzed. All of which is why Perret isn’t too concerned about the departure of Hockey and optimistic about the future.