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Plaid Hires Former Expedia CFO Eric Hart Before IPO

FinTech Plaid has appointed its first chief financial officer (CFO), a step toward a potential initial public offering (IPO).

Eric Hart, the former CFO of Expedia, has joined the 10-year-old startup, marking a milestone following its failed sale to Visa two years ago, the Financial Times (FT) reported Wednesday (Oct. 18). 

CEO Zach Perret has expressed his intention to take Plaid public, although no specific timeline has been provided for the IPO. The addition of a CFO brings Plaid one step closer to that goal. 

Hart expressed optimism in the future of digital payments. 

“Expedia was one of the leading players in that space of the digitization of travel,” Hart told FT. “I see a very similar opportunity here, which is the digitization of financial services. That’s been happening for a while, but I think we can all see that that’s accelerated over the last few years.”

Despite its failed $5.3 billion merger with Visa in 2021, Plaid has continued to experience substantial growth, especially during the pandemic. The company raised funds privately at a valuation exceeding $13 billion last year. However, the subsequent rise in interest rates by the Federal Reserve affected the valuations of many tech companies, including Plaid.

Plaid’s core offering is a platform that allows customers to securely connect their bank accounts to external applications, facilitating digital banking services. The demand for such services has surged, and Plaid has established partnerships with companies like Venmo, Shopify and Google, solidifying its position in the market.

Plaid’s investors include firms such as Silver Lake Partners, Ribbit Capital and the asset management arms of JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and American Express. 

While Hart did not comment on specific plans for an IPO, he emphasized the importance of establishing robust processes, procedures, and compliance within the finance department, noting that this preparation will position Plaid favorably should the company decide to pursue an IPO in the future.

The U.S. IPO market faced challenges over the past year, but recent activity suggests signs of revival. Companies like BirkenstockArm and Instacart have successfully gone public, although their subsequent trading performances have been mixed

Amid market volatility and uncertainty, venture capital firms have been advising companies to delay their IPO launches, as PYMNTS reported earlier this month.