Dave vs. Goliath
October 01, 2019

Back in 2014, Kyle Beilman and I were both working at Centerview Partners, a boutique investment bank based in New York City. We had our fair share of late nights at the office and “pls fix, thx” emails before Kyle went on to become CFO of Dave, a relatively under-the-radar startup at the time, and I eventually joined Norwest as an investor on the early-stage venture team.

Fast forward several years, I’m thrilled that Kyle and I will have the opportunity to work closely together once again along with Jason Wilk, co-founder and CEO of Dave, and Parker Barrile, a partner at Norwest, with Norwest leading Dave’s Series B round at a $1 billion valuation.

Putting the Consumer First

Founded in 2016, Dave is reinventing the financial experience for everyday consumers. Jason is a successful serial entrepreneur who started Dave based on his personal frustrations with higher overdraft and hidden bank fees. Today, U.S. banks are collecting more than $15 billion per year in overdraft fees and 100 million Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck. To combat this, Dave offers unique budgeting tools coupled with micro, no-recourse cash advances up to $75 to help consumers manage their finances between paychecks and avoid costly overdraft fees. To date, the company has made more than 7 million overdraft advances and helped its users save an estimated $190 million in overdraft fees.

Dave also realized that the current big bank experience was broken for consumers with NPS at an all-time low. Younger individuals had no strong loyalty and affinity towards the “goliaths” of the world and were looking for more technology-native products that had their best interests in mind. So over the summer, the company went a step further and announced Dave Bank, which included products like a checking account that helped consumers manage their finances better and build credit over time.

In just a few years, Dave has managed to amass over 4 million users for its financial management app and has 800,000 people on the waitlist for its banking services. The tremendous underlying momentum for Dave is a testament to both the amazing product and consumer brand the Dave team has built as well as how acute this pain point has been.

Massive Market Opportunity

As of Q2’19 there were nearly 50 VC-backed fintech unicorns worth a combined $187 billion, according to CB Insights. This may sound like a large figure (which it is), but from our perspective, we are still very much in the early innings. As a reference point, Visa and JP Morgan both individually have market caps north of $350 billion!

At Norwest, we’re continuing to double down and lean-in on disruptive opportunities within fintech. Notable other unicorn fintech investments in our portfolio include LendingClub (where we were the Series A investor) and most recently Plaid.

Working with an Exceptional Team

Norwest is focused on partnering with sharp, authentic founders who have built extraordinary teams. Jason and Kyle are no exception, and we’ve been impressed with their vision to build a consumer-first financial experience and are excited to see them create a next-generation fintech company.

We’re thrilled to welcome Jason, Kyle and the Dave team to the Norwest family.

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