A Chat with David Jarvis, CEO & Co-Founder at API-First BaaS Platform: Griffin

I co-founded Griffin in 2017 with our CTO Allen Rohner, founder and former CTO of CircleCI. Griffin is an API-first Banking as a Service (BaaS) provider currently seeking authorisation to become a regulated UK bank with the FCA and PRA. We are aiming to become the OS of embedded finance by combining best in class technology with the security and reliability of an actual bank.

Our goal is to make it fast and simple for the next wave of fintechs and innovative brands to embed financial products directly into their customer experience. We want to be the bank you can build on, which means bringing a Stripe-like self-service model to the financial services industry. Griffin’s customers will be able to streamline what is usually an expensive and time-intensive onboarding process with traditional banks and middleware BaaS providers. Instead, they can start integrating immediately, reducing their go-to-market time from months to just a matter of weeks.

We also want to be an active force for good in the financial ecosystem, which is why we place huge importance on compliance and financial crime prevention. Compliance is becoming increasingly mission-critical for early-stage fintechs and it’s at the heart of our mission.
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How did you come up with the idea for the company?

I worked at a US-based BaaS company called Standard Treasury, which was acquired by Silicon Valley Bank in 2015. They were ahead of the curve and ultimately went to market too early with a product that the US financial sector was not ready for, but my time there was enlightening. It became clear to me that as the fintech sector evolved, all sorts of companies were going to want to start developing financial products and embedding them directly into their apps and services.

When it comes to launching a new financial product, finding a banking partner can be a slow and expensive process – not only is this a barrier for startups, but the whole industry. The legacy technology systems typically used by banks are hard to integrate with and build on top of, so there was a clear gap in the market for Griffin.


How has the company evolved during the pandemic?

The pivot to full-time remote working was relatively easy for us, because our culture – which we’ve prioritised since day one – places huge emphasis on trust and autonomy. We have always given our employees the flexibility to work where and when makes most sense for them, pandemic or no pandemic. We’re also transparent by default, which means that everyone has equitable access to information and gets to be involved in decision-making, whether they’re office-based, full-time remote, or a bit of both.

Our culture was really our key support through all the strangeness and hardships of the past two years, and will continue to evolve as distributed, asynchronous work becomes the norm.

What can we hope to see from Griffin in the future?

Griffin is at a serious inflection point right now; our team is growing, different components of our BaaS platform are coming together, and we’re investing in enhancing the developer experience. We are very close to formally submitting our application to become a bank to the UK’s regulators, which will itself be the culmination of several year’s hard work.

We’re also looking to expand our customer and partner base, so we’re excited to team up with innovative companies who want to fast-track developing new products and embedding financial services into their existing brand experiences.

Compliance technology, and particularly fast and reliable customer onboarding, is a hugely important pillar of our platform, and so in the coming months we will start offering early access to our compliance platform, which includes state-of-the-art KYC technology and access to our team’s compliance expertise.