Mobile banking company Varo Money, Inc. today announced the hire of Smith Forté, who comes from the automated investing platform Acorns.
His arrival at Varo underscores the company’s mission to improve the financial health of Americans through innovative products and services. As Chief Product Officer, Forté will lead Varo’s growth, retail products, platform, and data science teams.
“Smith’s experience at Acorns using technology to help Americans save is a great fit and addition to Varo’s mission to improve our customers’ financial lives,” said Colin Walsh, CEO and co-founder of Varo. “He has built his career scaling financial and technology platforms and his expertise is key as we bring millions more customers into the Varo community.”
Prior to joining Varo, Forté was the Chief Product Officer at Acorns, where he oversaw product strategy and execution. During his tenure there, he oversaw significant growth in the customer base as well as the integration and launch of the Acorns Later retirement product, and the PayPal integration that allowed PayPal customers to onboard to Acorns and fund their investments.
“I joined Varo for the opportunity to create societal-level change,” said Forté. “I'm obsessed with using technology to improve people's financial lives. Varo is changing what it means to bank, and I'm psyched for the opportunity to serve the team and our customers.”
Between 2010-2015, he served as Chief Product Officer at Noise, a digital marketing agency; earlier in his career he was Senior Vice President at Current TV, the pioneering global media company founded by Al Gore. Teams and services led by Forté have received numerous Webby awards; Current TV also received an Emmy nomination under his leadership in 2007.
“I have learned a lot about applying the craft of product management within the constraints of a heavily regulated industry, especially how to leverage constraints to help drive creativity and innovation,” said Forté.
Varo is working to become the first mobile-centric national bank in U.S. history, and believes banking should be fee-free, easy, and accessible to everyone through a smartphone. In August 2018, Varo was granted preliminary approval for a national bank charter by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). Operating as a national bank would allow Varo to offer customers an expanded range of banking products and solutions with the continued highest standards of consumer protection.