Varo Bank announces $63mn strategic investment led by NBA MVP Russell Westbrook
By Pavithra R
Varo, the digital national bank, has announced an extensive engagement with Russell Westbrook, a nine-time NBA All-Star, NBA MVP, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and designer, to lead a $63 mn strategic investment in Varo Bank.
Under the agreement, Mr Westbrook will join Varo as an investor and advisor, where he will have direct input into the future direction of Varo’s impact programs, inclusive of communities of color and African American communities. The funding will support the firm’s continuous investment in its social impact mission and further enhance product roadmap, including additional credit, transaction banking and savings features.
“The banking system has ignored or underserved a large portion of the American population – particularly communities of color. I’m passionate about making lasting social change and creating a stronger and more inclusive system. I am excited and ready to work with Varo to be a part of an economic revitalization for those who never had the access they deserved,” said Mr Westbrook.
Russell Westbrook Enterprises joins a distinguished group of Varo’s existing major investors, including Warburg Pincus, Gallatin Point Capital, HarbourVest Partners, The Rise Fund, and funds managed by BlackRock.
The collaboration will advance Varo’s mission to re-imagine banking by combining the technology, inclusive design, and a unique social impact focus. Mr Westbrook’s engagement will build on Varo’s commitment to bring premium, innovative banking products to everyone, including savings accounts with rates that pay several times the national average, up to two-day early payroll deposits, and Varo Advance, a short term cash advance line of credit that allows qualifying customers to access up to $100 as needed right in the Varo Bank app.
“The Varo team is thrilled Russell is joining us on our trailblazing journey as the only all-digital, mission-driven national bank in the country. We both share a view that banking can be – and needs to be – a force for good. Russell is a visionary, and his energy and passion for design, product excellence, and community impact will help propel Varo’s next phase of growth. “Working together will accelerate our efforts to reimagine banking for all of us,” said Colin Walsh, founder and CEO of Varo Bank.
Varo’s mission is to redefine banking, enabling everyone to make smart choices with their money. The FinTech has built its fully digital banking solution from the ground up faster than originally planned. Launched its banking services officially in July 2017, offering premium banking products through The Bancorp Bank, Varo helps Americans stretch their money with bank and savings accounts that have no minimum balance requirement and no monthly account fees.
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