Atlanta-based Greenwood, the digital banking services company founded for Black and Latino individuals, announced Tuesday it has acquired Kinly, a rival fintech firm also aimed at serving Black customers.
Both companies’ missions center around closing the racial wealth gap in the U.S. For Donald Hawkins, CEO and founder of Missouri-based Kinly, joining Greenwood was an easy decision to make.
“One of the things that I always think about is the old African proverb, you know: ‘You want to go fast, go alone, you want to go far, you know, go together,’” Hawkins said. The two companies were founded in 2020 and Hawkins noted the firms “were started from the exact same pain point around the same time, like literally within almost about 30 days of each other.”
Greenwood’s founders include activist and rapper Michael Render, more commonly known as Killer Mike, and former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young. The company, named after the Black Tulsa, Oklahoma, community that white racists destroyed in 1921, was founded in the wake of the protests over the murder of George Floyd.
Since launching three years ago, Greenwood has morphed into a portfolio of companies whose missions center around supporting the Black community. Last year Greenwood bought its first two Black-owned companies: the Atlanta-based networking hub and workspace The Gathering Spot, and Valence, an online career development platform. Kinly marks its third acquisition.
“We believe that it takes a mosaic of individuals, of corporations — VCs included — to close a generational wealth gap that existed in this country for centuries,” said Ryan Glover, Greenwood’s CEO and co-founder, explaining why the company has acquired an array of businesses.
In November, Greenwood secured a $45 million funding round led by Black-founded investment firm Pendulum. With that funding, the company is now valued at $325 million. Greenwood has around 150,000 banking customers, according to Glover.
Kinly launched to the public last summer and announced it had raised $20 million. The company has around 300,000 members, a combination of its financial services customers and people who joined its newsletters, financial education events and waitlist, according to Hawkins.
While Greenwood did not disclose the financial details of the acquisition, Glover said those 300,000 members will now be folded into the combined company and Hawkins will be joining as a vice president.
Greenwood offers several online banking services, including savings accounts and early paycheck deposits. Though it is not a bank, customer accounts are held by Community Coast Bank and insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. up to $250,000.
In April, Greenwood announced it was opening general access to the banking services platform to the first time. The company also offers a membership program that grants access to all the companies under the Greenwood umbrella for $200 per month.
Greenwood also has a variety of financial education content. Its “Money Moves” podcast launched as a TV series last month and Kinly will be retrofitting its educational content to join Greenwood’s library.
Glover said there are no more acquisitions on the horizon, but the company aims to launch investment and credit products sometime this year. He said he is also thinking of ways Greenwood can expand its physical footprint.
Hawkins said joining forces with Greenwood feels like more than just a win for him and Kinly, but for the Black community as a whole.
“So many people like to see, you know, fintechs and startups compete,” he said. “But in this instance, the needs of the community outweigh all of that. There are a lot of people that need help. And it kind of bodes to our history, you know, in the Black and minority community. We’ve come this far because of what we’ve been able to do together.”
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