Who Owns The 27 Biggest Digital Banks?

who owns digital banks

Digital banks are all the rage in the last couple of years, snatching up millions of customers from big banks. With so many digital banks cropping up these days, you’re probably wondering who is the owner; who stands behind these digital banks. 

The answer is obviously not so cut and dry, as with anything in big business. There are many layers to be peeled off, and still, the answer might not be there. Especially concerning just how much of a share a founder or an investor has in a digital bank. 

Digital banks typically fall into one of two categories – they’re privately held by founders and investors, or they are publicly traded on the NYSE or LSE. 

Founders will let go of a percentage of their company in return for a financial injection that will enable the company to grow. Even though a founder is still in the company and even a CEO, they could potentially own only a few percent of the bank. 

When and if the digital bank goes public, founders and investors can be worth a good chunk of money. The most recent example is Wise. Its founders, Estonian friends Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus, are billionaires after the company went public on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in July. 

The company was valued at $11 billion, making Käärmann worth $2.1 billion and Hinrikus $1.2 billion. 

The largest external investor in Wise, Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, has a 10.2% stake in the company that is now worth $1.1 billion. 

Let’s look at other well-known digital banks in the US and around the world to see who owns them. 

Who owns Ally Bank?

ally bank

Ally Bank was first formed as GMAC Bank in 2000. It rebranded as Ally Bank in 2009, and in 2014, Ally Financial Inc. (ALLY), its parent company, became a publicly traded company. Institutions hold 96.31% of their shares.

Its biggest shareholders are venture capital companies, investment funds, and financial services companies. Vanguard Group Inc is the biggest shareholder with a 10.48% stake, Blackrock Inc (8.92%), Harris Associates LP (6.73%), Morgan Stanley (4.09%), and others. 

  • Founded: 2000
  • CEO: Jeffrey J. Brown
  • Parent institution: Ally Financial

Who owns Axos Bank?

axos bank

Axos Bank, formerly known as the Bank of Internet USA, was founded in 1999 by Jerry Englert and Gary Lewis Evans. Its parent company Ally Financial, Inc. (AX) is a publicly traded company since 2005. Institutions hold 79.78% of their shares.

The biggest Axos Financial shareholders are Blackrock Inc with 14.55% of shares, Vanguard Group Inc (9.16%), iShares Core S&P Smallcap ETF (5.85%), Dimensional Fund Advisors LP (3.71%), State Street Corporation (3.57%), and others.

  • Founded: 2000
  • Founders: Jerry Englert, Gary Lewis Evans
  • CEO: Gregory Garrabrants
  • Parent institution: Axos Financial

Who owns Chime?

chime bank

Chime was founded in 2013 by Chris Britt and Ryan King and is still a privately held fintech. There are plans for the company to go public in late 2021 with a valuation of more than $30 billion. The company raised $2.3 billion from 10 rounds of funding. Its biggest investors include Sequoia Capital, DST Global, Menlo Ventures, General Atlantic, Tiger Global, etc.    

  • Founded: 2013
  • Founders: Chris Britt (CEO) and Ryan King (CTO)
  • Privately held

Who owns Cash App?

cash app

Cash App was founded in 2013 as Square Cash. Square, Inc. (SQ), Its parent company, is a publicly traded company since 2015. It was founded in 2009 by Jack Dorsey and Jim McKelvey. Institutions hold 73.72% of their shares.

The company’s biggest shareholders are Morgan Stanley (7.28%), Vanguard Group, Inc. (6.23%), Blackrock Inc. (5.20%), Fmr LLC (2.73%), and others. 

  • Founded: 2013
  • Founders: Jack Dorsey and Jim McKelvey
  • Parent institution: Square, Inc.

Who owns Cogni?

cogni digital banking

Cogni was founded in 2018 by Archie Ravishankar, the company’s CEO, and has headquarters in New York. It’s a privately held company. The company raised $8 million from 4 rounds of funding. Its biggest investors include AJ Faraj, Barclays, Hanwha Investment Bank & Securities, Hard Yaka, West Quad Ventures, Guggenheim Partners, etc.

  • Founded: 2018
  • Founder: Archie Ravishankar (CEO)
  • Partner bank: Community Federal Savings Bank

Who owns Current?

current bank

Current was founded in 2015 by Stuart Sopp, who is also the company’s CEO. It’s still a privately held company headquartered in New York. The company raised $400+ million from 5 rounds of funding. Its biggest investors include Andreessen Horowitz, Tiger Global, Foundation Capital, Expa, Wellington Management, TQ Ventures, and others.

  • Founded: 2015
  • Founder: Stuart Sopp (CEO)
  • Partner banks: Choice Financial Group and Metropolitan Commercial Bank

Who owns lili?

lili bank

lili was founded in 2018 by Lilac Bar David (CEO) and Liran Zelkha. It’s a privately held company headquartered in New York. The company raised $80 million from 3 rounds of funding. Its biggest investors include Group 11, Foundation Capital, Primary Venture Partners, Google for Startups, Target Global Torch Capital, etc.

  • Founded: 2018
  • Founders: Lilac Bar David (CEO), Liran Zelkha
  • Partner bank: Bank of Choice Financial Group Inc.

Who owns Majority?

majority

Majority was founded in 2019 by Johan Dahlqvist, Johan Granlund, and Magnus Larsson. It’s a privately held company headquartered in Houston, Texas. The company raised $19 million from 1 round of funding. Its investors are Valar Ventures, Avid Ventures, and Heartcore Capital. 

  • Founded: 2019
  • Founders: Johan Dahlqvist, Johan Granlund, Magnus Larsson (CEO)
  • Partner bank: Sutton Bank

Who owns Mercury?

mercury bank

Mercury was founded in 2017 by Immad Akhund (CEO), Jason Zhang, and Max Tagher. It’s a privately held company headquartered in San Francisco. The company raised $152 million from 4 rounds of funding. Its biggest investors include Coatue, CRV, Sapphire Ventures, Vetamer, Andreessen Horowitz, and others.

  • Founded: 2017
  • Founders: Immad Akhund (CEO), Jason Zhang, Max Tagher
  • Partner bank: Evolve Bank & Trust

Who owns Monese?

monese

Monese was founded in 2013 by Norris Koppel. It’s a privately held company headquartered in London, England. The company raised $80 million from 9 rounds of funding. Its biggest investors include Kinnevik AB, Future Fifty, Augmentum Fintech, Tera Ventures, Outward VC, PayPal Ventures, etc. 

  • Founded: 2013
  • Founder: Norris Koppel (CEO)

Who owns MoneyLion?

moneylion

MoneyLion was founded in 2013 by Chee Mun Foong, Diwakar Choubey, and Pratyush Tiwari. It merged with Fusion Acquisition Corp. (FUSE) in 2021 to become a publicly traded company. Institutions hold 74.01% of their shares.

The company’s biggest shareholders are Soroban Capital Partners LP (9.90%), Linden Advisors LP (9.75%), Weiss Asset Management LP (5.94%), Washington Harbour Partners LP (4.32%), and others.

  • Founded: 2013
  • Founders: Diwakar Choubey (CEO), Chee Mun Foong (CTO), and Pratyush Tiwari (CIO)
  • Parent institution: Fusion Acquisition Corp. 

Who owns Monzo?

monzo

Monzo was founded in 2015 by Gary Dolman, Jason Bates, Jonas Huckestein, Paul Rippon, and Tom Blomfield. It’s a privately held company headquartered in London, England. The company raised $648 million from 20 rounds of funding. 

Its biggest investors are the Y Combinator, General Catalyst, Stripe, Orange, Passion Capital, Thrive Capital, Goodwater Capital, Accel, and others. 

  • Founded: 2015
  • Founder: Gary Dolman, Jason Bates, Jonas Huckestein, Paul Rippon, Tom Blomfield
  • CEO: TS Anil

Who owns N26?

n26 bank

N26 was founded in 2013 by Maximilian Tayenthal and Valentin Stalf. It’s a privately held company headquartered in Berlin, Germany. The company raised $819 million from 9 rounds of funding. Its biggest investors are Insight Partners, Allianz X, Tencent, Horizons Ventures, Valar Ventures, and others.

  • Founded: 2013
  • Founders: Valentin Stalf, Maximilian Tayenthal
  • CEO: Nicolas Kopp

Who owns Nubank?

nubank

Nubank was founded in 2013 by Adam Edward Wible, Cristina Junqueira, and David Velez (CEO). It’s a privately held company headquartered in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The company raised $2.3 billion from 12 rounds of funding. 

Its biggest investors are heavy hitters such as Berkshire Hathaway, Sands Capital Ventures, GIC, Invesco, Whale Rock Capital Management, TCV, Tencent, Fortress Investment Group, Goldman Sachs, and DST Global. 

  • Founded: 2013
  • Founders: Adam Edward Wible, Cristina Junqueira, David Velez 
  • CEO: David Velez

Who owns One?

one finance

One was founded in 2019 by Bill Harris and Brian Hamilton (CEO). It’s a privately held company headquartered in San Francisco, California. The company raised $66 million from 3 rounds of funding. Its investors are the founder, Bill Harris, Progressive Investment Company, Obvious Ventures, Core Innovation Capital, and Foundation Capital.

  • Founded: 2019
  • Founders: Bill Harris and Brian Hamilton (CEO)
  • Partner bank: Coastal Community Bank

Who owns OnJuno?

onjuno

OnJuno was founded in 2019 by Ratnesh Ray, Siddharth Verma, and Varun Deshpande (CEO). It’s a privately held company headquartered in Bengaluru, India. The company raised $3 million from 1 round of funding. Its investors are Singapore Angel Network, Consensus Lab, Polychain, Sequoia Capital India, Astarc Ventures, and Dragonfly Capital Management. 

  • Founded: 2019
  • Founders: Ratnesh Ray, Siddharth Verma, Varun Deshpande (CEO)
  • Partner bank: Evolve Bank and Trust

Who owns Oxygen?

oxygen bank

Oxygen was founded in 2018 by Hussein Ahmed (CEO). It’s a privately held company headquartered in San Francisco, California. The company raised $24 million from 2 rounds of funding. Its investors include 1984 Ventures, Leonis Investissement, Runa Capital, Citius, EFG Hermes, Rucker Park Capital, etc.

  • Founded: 2018
  • Founders: Hussein Ahmed (CEO)
  • Partner bank: Bancorp Bank

Who owns Payoneer?

payoneer

Payoneer was founded in 2005 by Yuval Tal. In 2021, the company merged with FTAC Olympus Acquisition Corp. to become a publicly traded company operating as Payoneer (PAYO). Institutions hold 51.61% of their shares.

Payoneer’s biggest shareholders include Technology Crossover Management VIII, Ltd. (12.32%), Wellington Management Group, LLP (8.72%), Temasek Holdings (Private) Limited (5.98%), etc.

  • Founded: 2005
  • Founders: Yuval Tal
  • CEO: Scott Galit

Who owns Quontic?

Quontic was founded in 2009 by Steven Schnall (CEO). It’s a privately held company headquartered in New York. The company raised $11 million from 2 rounds of funding.

  • Founded: 2009
  • Founder: Steven Schnall (CEO)
  • Privately held

Who owns Revolut?

revolut

Revolut was founded in 2015 by Nikolay Storonsky (CEO) and Vlad Yatsenko. It’s a privately held company headquartered in London, England. The company raised $1.7 billion from 14 rounds of funding. 

Its biggest investors include SoftBank Vision Fund, Tiger Global Management, TSG Consumer Partners, London Impact Ventures, DST Global, GP Bullhound, Bond Capital, Lakestar, and others. 

  • Founded: 2015
  • Founders: Nikolay Storonsky (CEO) and Vlad Yatsenko
  • Partner bank: Metropolitan Commercial Bank

Who owns SoFi?

sofi

SoFi (Social Finance, Inc.) was founded in 2011 by Daniel Macklin, Ian Brady, James Finnigan, and Michael Cagney. It’s been a publicly traded company since 2021. The biggest SOFI shareholders are T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. (5.07%), Third Point LLC (3.63%), Durable Capital Partners LP (1.52%), and others. 

  • Founded: 2011
  • Founders: Mike Cagney, Ian Brady, James Finnigan, Dan Macklin
  • CEO: Anthony Noto
  • Partner bank: The Bancorp Bank

Who owns Starling Bank?

starling bank

Starling was founded in 2014 by Anne Boden (CEO). It’s a privately held company headquartered in London, England. The company raised $922 million from 10 rounds of funding. Its biggest investors include Harrald McPike (who is holding just under 40% share), Goldman Sachs, Fidelity Management and Research Company, Chrysalis Investments, JTC Group, Capability and Innovation Fund, Merian Global Investors, etc. 

  • Founded: 2014
  • Founder: Anne Boden (CEO)
  • Privately held

Who owns TymeBank?

tymebank

TymeBank was founded in 2012 by Coen Jonker, Rolf Eichweber, and Tjaart van der Waalt. It’s a privately held company headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa. The company raised $169 million from 4 rounds of funding. Its investors are Apis Partners, JG Summit Holdings, African Rainbow Capital, Ethos Private Equity, and Serendipity Capital.

  • Founded: 2012
  • Founders: Coen Jonker, Rolf Eichweber, Tjaart van der Waalt
  • CEO: Sandile Shabalala

Who owns Ualá?

Uala bank

Ualá was founded in 2017 by Pierpaolo Barbieri. It’s a privately held company with headquarters in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The company raised $544 million from 7 rounds of funding. Its biggest investors are SOFTBANK Latin America Ventures, Tencent, Goldman Sachs Investment Partners, Soros Fund Management, D1 Capital Partners, etc.

  • Founded: 2017
  • Founder: Pierpaolo Barbieri (CEO)
  • Privately held

Who owns Varo?

varo money

Varo was founded in 2015 by Assaf Guery, Colin Walsh (CEO), Mykola Klymenko, Roger Van Duinen. It’s a privately held company with headquarters in San Francisco, California. The company raised $482 million from 7 rounds of funding. Its biggest investors are Russell Westbrook Enterprises, Gallatin Point Capital, Jeffrey S. Skoll, Paul Hewson (Bono), The Rise Fund, Warburg Pincus, etc. 

  • Founded: 2015
  • Founders: Assaf Guery, Colin Walsh, Mykola Klymenko, Roger Van Duinen
  • CEO: Colin Walsh

Who owns Venmo?

venmo

Venmo was founded in 2009 by Andrew Kortina and Iqram Magdon-Ismail. Braintree acquired it for $26.2 million in 2012. Already in 2013, PayPal bought Braintree for $800 million. PayPal Holdings, Inc. (PYPL) is a publicly traded company since 2002. Institutions hold 82.32% of their shares.

PayPal’s biggest shareholders are Vanguard Group, Inc. (7.94%), Blackrock Inc. (6.99%), State Street Corporation (3.84%), and FMR, LLC (3.75%).

  • Founded: 2009
  • Founders: Andrew Kortina and Iqram Magdon-Ismail
  • Acquired by PayPal

Who owns Wise?

wise

Wise was founded in 2011 by Kristo Kaarmann and Taavet Hinrikus. It’s been a publicly traded company since 2021 and has headquarters in London, England. The biggest Wise shareholders are the founders Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus, but also, Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, Baillie Gifford, and Andreessen Horowitz.

Käärmann’s stake in the business is worth approximately $2.1 billion, while Hinrikus’ is worth $1.2 billion, at an $11 billion market cap. Valar Ventures is Wise’s largest external shareholder with a 10.2% stake that’s now worth around $1.1 billion. Horowitz’s 9.3% stake is now worth $1 billion, and Baillie Gifford holds a 4.9% stake worth $536 million.

  • Founded: 2011
  • Founders: Kristo Käärmann (CEO) and Taavet Hinrikus (CEO)
  • Partner bank: Community Federal Savings Bank

The bottom line

As you can see, digital banks are either privately held companies owned by their founders and investors that mostly include venture capital firms or they are publicly traded companies with mostly institutional investors such as Vanguard Group, Blackrock, State Street, Morgan Stanley, and similar. 

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