Bank data sharing outfit Plaid is launching an incubator programme for early-stage fintech entrepreneurs who are Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (Bipoc).
Designed to add more diverse voice to the fintech ecosystem, the FinRise incubator grew out an internal hackathon that was itself inspired by the Black Live Matter movement, says Plaid.
The company - which recently saw a $5.3 billion mega merger with Visa fall apart - is inviting Bipoc founders to apply for the nine month programme, which will initially support between three and five startups.
Participants will get access to a network of purpose-built venture capital firms, network service providers, and accelerators that they can tap for networking opportunities, discounted services and ad credits, and pitch practice.
Firms will participate in a three-day virtual bootcamp with workshops on relevant technical, product, and business topics to help guide early business development.
Meanwhile, founders will also get a dedicated account manager, a "skillshare" network, mentorship from Plaid execs and a space to learn from their fellow participants.
Plaid's decision to explicitly embrace the Black Lives Matter movement and its belief in "technology as a force for good" highlights a growing divide in Silicon Valley in the role of private companies in broader societal issues.
Coinbase sparked a heated debate in the Valley late last year when CEO Brian Armstrong loudly took the opposite position to Plaid, insisting the crypto exchange will stick to business, even offering staffers unhappy with his stance generous exit packages.
Many, such as Y Combinator co-founder Paul Graham, spoke out in support of Armstrong but others, most notably Twitter chief Jack Dorsey, took a dim view of his move.