Today marks a major milestone in a journey started nearly 10 years ago. I am proud to congratulate the team on Blend’s initial public offering on the NYSE.
Blend ($BLND) is a cloud-based banking software platform that powers mortgages, personal loans, credit cards, deposit accounts, and more for some of the biggest banks in the country.
In an industry that is both deeply dependent on legacy technologies and highly resistant to change, Blend provides financial institutions with a modern, Netflix-like experience consumers have come to expect from all of their digital transactions.
Today’s public offering is particularly gratifying for us at Lightspeed, because we’ve known the people behind Blend for a long time. Before starting Blend, co-founders Nima Ghamsari, Erin Collard, Eugene Marinelli, and Rosco Hill worked at and with Palantir, where they were instrumental in helping banks weather the 2008 financial meltdown by using analytics to identify bad loans and get them off the books. They’d been tested in a crucible of fire.
It was our confidence in Blend’s four co-founders that convinced us to lead the Series A round in 2013.
Four years later, the team let us know they had landed Wells Fargo as a client. It was an enormous get for a relatively small company — like going from tinkering on a car in your garage to the starting line of the Indy 500, virtually overnight.
The fact that the third biggest bank in the US had confidence in this small startup was a turning point in the company’s evolution. It was one of those pivotal moments where we all sort of looked at each other and realized that the team really had the vision and technological capabilities to pull this off.
Now the Blend platform powers the lending process for 31 of the country’s top 100 financial services firms. Last year the company handled nearly $1.4 trillion in loan applications.
As a relatively young CEO, Nima Ghamsari has been unafraid to aggressively promote innovative ideas in an industry where change is infrequent and slow. Blend has been transformational in giving traditional banks the ability to offer customers a modern, low-friction experience, allowing these institutions to stay relevant and competitive in the 21st century economy.
Blend has become one of the cornerstones of our Fintech and Proptech portfolio, which includes Affirm, which IPO’d last January, Appzen, BlueVine, Brigit, Carta, Finix, Kikoff, Ladder, Mynd, OkCredit, Personetics, Roofstock, Synctera and Zest AI. Since the firm’s founding 20 years ago, we’ve invested around $1 Billion in over 30 global Fintech companies. With the addition of Justin Overdorff as our newest Lightspeed Partner, we look forward to bringing even more energy and passion to future investments in innovative Fintech companies.
At Lightspeed we’re drawn to innovative ideas and bold business strategies, but at the end of the day we’re investing in people. Blend’s IPO is more proof we made the right choice.
Our heartiest congratulations to Nima and his team.