Posted November 30, 2020
Andrew Young has been a mayor, a U.S. representative, and the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Now he says he’s counting on a new digital banking platform, focused on Black and Latino communities, to address some of the systemic injustices he’s been fighting throughout his career. With rapper and activist Michael Render, better known as “Killer Mike,” and Bounce TV founder Ryan Glover, Young is helping to start Greenwood, named in honor of the Tulsa community known as the “Black Wall Street” before it was destroyed by a White mob in 1921.
Atlanta-based Greenwood is on track to open in January. Like other online banking platforms such as Chime and Aspiration, the bank will connect customers to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.-insured savings and checking accounts and payment platforms. In addition, Greenwood will focus on offering business loans and financial counseling services to Black and Latino entrepreneurs. It will also help facilitate donations to causes such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Young, Render, and Glover have raised about $3.4 million from angel investors—65% of them African-American—and already have almost 175,000 prospective customers signed up on a waiting list, says Glover, the company’s founder and chairman. The reception prompted the co-founders to fast-track a Series A funding round for the end of 2020, seeking $20 million and giving the bank a valuation of $50 million to $75 million. Greenwood is in talks with two prospective partner banks that will provide the FDIC-insured banking services for Greenwood’s customers. Young, Render, and Glover spoke with Bloomberg Markets in October about their plans.