Less than a year after opening up its waiting list, Greenwood has garnered over 100,000 individual banking customers. But customer acquisition is just one part of the success story for the Atlanta-based banking and fintech startup. Greenwood also acquired The Gathering Spot and Valence, two professional community networks, and secured a $45 million Series B at the end of November.
The acquisition and funding news is part of Greenwood’s overall mission to “recirculate capital in our community, deploying capital to deserving borrowers, and financially educate the Black and Brown community,” said Ryan Glover, Greenwood’s co-founder and Chairman.
“The last year has been about building trust within our community,” Glover added. “Trust not just in Greenwood, but in the banking system as a whole. [The Black community] has every right to feel some mistrust over the last century.”
The reality is that Black households hold around 4% of total household wealth in the country, despite making up 13% of the US population.
For Greenwood, it means their digital platform needs to do more than just expand on traditional banking services. It needs to be part of creating a thriving Black business community across the US.
To do just that, Greenwood also recently announced the launch of Greenwood Elevate, a new lifestyle membership platform that brings together Greenwood, The Gathering Spot, Valence, and the A3C Festival.
Think of Elevate as something like an all-access pass to career and lifestyle development. The Elevate platform is open to all, and is a set of “wraparound experiences offering products, services, and moments that elevate key facets of a black professional lifestyle,” according to Glover.
Elevate members get access to The Gathering Spot’s growing list of physical locations as well as new job listings and professional networking opportunities through Valence.
Behind the $45 million investment
Greenwood’s founding team is certainly a “who’s who” list of influential Atlantans, including former mayor Andrew Young, rapper and activist Michael “Killer Mike” Render, and entrepreneurs Ryan Glover and Paul Judge.
With its latest round of funding, Greenwood has also brought in some big national VC names onto its cap table.
The recent $45 million funding round was led by Pendulum, a Black-founded investment firm designed for founders and leaders of color which has deep roots at Atlanta’s HBCUs Morehouse and Spelman. Other new investors in this round include Cercano Management, Cohen Circle, The George Kaiser Family Foundation, and NextEra Energy, alongside existing investors Bank of America, Citi Ventures, PNC, Popular, Truist Ventures, TTV Capital, and Wells Fargo.
Pendulum is now the largest investor in the Atlanta fintech and banking startup. The California-based firm is no stranger to the Atlanta startup scene, as it also an investor in Saltbox’s recent Series B.
2022 was no doubt a difficult year for fundraising, but Glover told Hypepotamus that the $45 million raise showcases that Greenwood’s mission is resonating with investors and customers alike.
“I wouldn’t say that this fundraise was necessarily easier than the last. But it was really a testament that everything that we as a Greenwood organization seems to be doing,” Glover added.