EXCLUSIVE: Plaid is on a hiring spree, plans to double its tech staff in 2021, now that its sale to Visa is off, insiders say

  • Insiders say Plaid is seeing a surge in job applicants.
  • Plaid and Visa ended plans for $5.3 billion acquisition last week after the DOJ blocked the deal.
  • Applicants see a fintech unicorn that could enrich them with an even higher valuation.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

In the past week, job candidates have been rushing to land roles at fintech unicorn Plaid, insiders say.

They want into the company now that Plaid has called off its $5.3 billion deal to sell to Visa after the acquisition was blocked by regulators.

"The interest is insane," Jean-Denis Greze, head of engineering, said in an email. "Just activating candidates, closing candidates, having first conversations, getting inbounds from various channels, etc. All of it has been easier."

Plaid investors were practically giddy when the deal dissolved because they believe the startup is worth much more after the year it's had, they told Insider. The deal's implosion gives it an exit do-over.

Read more: Plaid investors say they are happy the government killed its $5.3 billion sale: 'While we had a bird in hand with Visa, a little patience will really pay off'

Candidates have heard about Plaid's new-and-improved prospects, and the company has observed a 25% increase in applications and a 50% increase in employee referrals since the multi-billion acquisition deal was pronounced dead, according to McKenna Quint, head of people.

Quint said candidates appreciate having clarity on the company's future after a year stuck in regulatory limbo.

"While there are great candidates who want to work at a Plaid powered by Visa, and an independent Plaid, there aren't as many who are OK with either outcome, or being in perpetual uncertainty," Quint said in an email.

"Now that we know where we're headed, it's going to completely change who we can hire," she said.

Part of the allure is the opportunity to make a lot of money. Startup employees are typically paid in stock as well as cash salaries. Many a tech employee has become a millionaire on the value of stock after the company goes public or sells for billions.

Candidates are clamoring for shares of Plaid because they believe the value of those shares will rise exponentially.

"Like any private company, equity is an important part of our rewards strategy. It's the way employees capture the value they create," said Quint, who led human resources at Cruise, a self-driving car company, before Plaid.

Plaid had an estimated valuation of about $2.65 billion before the Visa deal, according to deals database PitchBook, meaning the Visa deal was nearly double that already.

While Plaid's investors have not revealed just how much more valuable the company is, Plaid said it saw a 60% increase in customer growth and added "hundreds" of banks to its network, all after it signed its acquisition deal. 

"The upside from here is massive," said David Tisch, a cofounder of BoxGroup, an early Plaid investor.

Plaid is increasing headcount 50% in 2021

The good news for candidates is: Plaid is on a hiring spree. Quint told Insider the company plans to recruit around 300 people this year, nearly doubling its tech staff. It currently has more than 100 openings across the board.

The company has the most openings for product managers, software engineers, engineering managers, designers, and support engineers, who are tasked with fixing bugs, according to Plaid's careers website.

Plaid has around 600 employees and hired roughly 200 of them last year alone.

Greze, the engineering boss, said the company needs more hands on deck to sustain its growth. The number of new users on Plaid surged 44% from March to May, users who are now making "hundreds of thousands" of transactions via its software every day, he said. The tech team is focused on scaling its technology and building new features.

"Honestly, it's hard to overstate either how big our opportunity is or how important it is for us to keep attracting incredible team members," Greze said.

Insiders were worried about the culture under Visa

On Blind, an app that lets workers talk about their companies anonymously, Plaid employees are responding to posts asking if the fintech is hiring and if it's "worth joining now."

Workers, who log into the app using a verified work email address, responded positively about the "humble," "optimistic," and "hardworking" people at Plaid. 

Read more: These are the 14 people heading up key projects at Plaid

The company is operating remotely because of the ongoing health crisis, but it's hiring across offices in San Francisco, New York, Salt Lake City, London, and Amsterdam. Greze said the company hasn't entirely worked out what the future of work is, whether employees will go back to the office fully or work from home part of the time.

"We were never dogmatic about work from home or otherwise making lifestyle choices on behalf of our employees," said Greze, who lives in the Bay Area. "The last 12 months have helped us realize that we can indeed operate effectively while supporting employee flexibility, and I hope that's something that'll stay true moving forward."

Plaid's hiring goals are ambitious, but feasible now that the company is staying independent.

"The funny thing is that when the deal was announced, a big question mark for all of us at Plaid was: how do we keep our recruiting brand and identity as a product-culture intact post-acquisition," Greze said.

Company insiders worked on a plan to reinforce the culture and "all of the things that make working at Plaid magical," he added.

"Now suddenly, we don't have to worry about the culture changing, but we get the benefit of being much more intentional and explicit about what's important in our culture that we want to preserve as we grow," he said.

Are you a Plaid insider with insight to share? Contact Melia Russell via email at [email protected] or on Signal at (603) 913-3085. Open DMs on Twitter @meliarobin.

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