Lowell Putnam, Co-Founder and CEO
New York, NY
Year Invested

How Quovo Became Embedded in the New Financial Services Tech Stack

Lowell Putnam joins David Jegen to reflect on Quovo’s biggest wins

If you’re a fintech startup and the prospect is a top three bank, the answer is probably “as much as possible — without breaking your team.”  

In the late 2010s, financial API startup Quovo spent two full years selling and onboarding one of the largest banks in the United States. 

“We were a company of 60 people at the time, and eight of them had to be on a call with this bank every day, five days a week,” CEO and Co-founder Lowell Putnam said recently, speaking with F-Prime’s David Jegen about their partnership in the years after we co-led their 2017 Series B. “They did all of their releases on Saturday nights after midnight, and they needed people from our team to listen in. Not a lot of startups are ready for that.” 


The Perks of Being a Grownup 

Nevertheless, David and other investors on the board backed the team to close the deal. Quovo ultimately won one of the largest open banking contracts in the U.S., a market-moving vindication of the company’s account connection and aggregation services — and its implementation team’s execution.  

“Having a top three bank, especially, gave us this great sense of being a grownup compared to the other folks out there,” Lowell said. “We remain one of the few startups that had a contract from them, but it was a two-year process. David and some of our other investors stuck with it the whole way: ‘Keep doing it, keep putting the implementation resources in.’  

“And everything that went into that deal ended up making the company stronger. But if you guys hadn’t supported us — because it was bending everything from a spend standpoint — it would’ve been so much more difficult.” 


The Mafia Effect 

Quovo developed some serious go-to-market muscles selling to a major bank, and they helped the company knock down logo after logo across the financial services industry in the years after that deal.  

“We had to build a full implementation, customer success, and account management team — and not like, you know, a typical client success team taking folks out for beers,” Lowell said. “Some of the folks from that team are now doing amazing things. Adams Conrad, a principal who’s crushing it at QED right now, was managing our entire relationship with Betterment. Nicole Newlin is doing great things at Ocrolus. Our first data science hire is now a senior member of the engineering team at Plaid. And the rest of Quovo saw this team putting out fires for that one big bank — it just grew the rest of the company up, too. It was incredible for the culture.” 

 “I often say that successful alumni say as much about a startup’s founders than the ultimate financial outcome,” David added. “And I think it’s a wonderful statement that the people Lowell attracted and helped to grow went on to do other great things.” 


Building Again  

With great logo diversity among its customers — from financial titans to tiny startups — and clear momentum, it wasn’t long before acquirers came knocking. 

“You had a foot in the world of big financial institutions,” David said, “and fielded an offer from a player in that space who respected you and Quovo in a way that was disproportionate to your size. 

“It was quite telling that one extremely old and traditional FI would reach out to acquire Quovo at the same time that you’re also getting offers from one of the fastest-growing companies in fintech. It ended extremely well.” 

Plaid and Quovo ultimately combined to become the clear category leader for financial data aggregation and account authentication, and one of the great success stories of the fintech disruption.


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It was quite telling that one extremely old and traditional FI would reach out to acquire Quovo at the same time that you’re also getting offers from one of the fastest-growing companies in fintech.