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Sofi Research 7 months 4 weeks ago #48

  • dsamraj
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Description

Sofi (also known as Social Finance) is a San Francisco based startup founded in 2011 by Daniel Macklin, Ian Brady, James Finnigan and Michael Cagney. [1] Sofi is a financial services app that allows users to save, invest, and borrow money as well as purchase insurance. There is also a special designation between individual and small business lending. Cagney served as CEO until 2017 when he resigned (see below for more details) and pursued another venture. Tom Hutton was named as CEO [3] and served until 2018 when Anthony Noto was named CEO. [4]. Noto currently serves as CEO and Hutton serves as Chairman. [5]

Lead Founder's background

Sofi wasn’t Cagney’s first experience in the financial services industry. Before entering the startup industry, Cagney had started out his career in sales & trading where he eventually became Senior Vice President of the prop trading desk at Wells Fargo. [6] He then built a wealth management solutions startup. After selling that startup, he created a hedge fund. After this, he was admitted to get an MBA at Stanford. It was during his time at Stanford that he met the other co-founders of Sofi, and the startup was born. [6]

Competitors

Sofi’s main competitors are Avant, Lending Club, Upstart, LendingTree, and CommonBond. [7]

Workplace Scandal

Sofi’s past challenges , however, go far beyond competition. In 2017, employees reported about scandalous behavior occurring at the corporate office. The CFO was reported to have made questionable comments on female employee’s figures, while Cagney was reported to be flirtatious around women. Some employees even reported that sexual acts were used as part of the deal to get a promotion. Cagney soon stepped down as CEO [8}While at the time he did not admit to wrongdoing, later on Cagney admitted to having consensual sexual relationships with female employees and engaging in extra – marital affairs. [9]

SPAC Merger

Cagney’s departure has not waned the interest of investors. As of recent SoFi is soon to merge with Social Capital Hedosophia Corp V which values the firm at $8.65B. [10] Investors in previous rounds of funding include SoftBank and Peter Thiel. It is important to note that Social Capital is an SPAC. [10] A SPAC is a special purpose acquisition company. [11] An SPAC is a company formed by investors to pursue deals in a certain area. In some sense this is similar to a private equity fund. [11]

Conclusion

Sofi is an interesting FinTech firm in a disruptive industry. Despite the firm’s dark past, the firm is moving forward and pursuing an IPO soon. No doubt it will be an interesting firm to watch this year.

 Articles for Further Reading (an d in part used to create this post):

[1] (Crunchbase): www.crunchbase.com/organization/social-finance
[2] (Sofi): www.sofi.com/
[3] (LA Times): www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-f...s-20170915-story.htm
[4] (Sofi Press): www.sofi.com/press/sofi-names-anthony-no...f-executive-officer/
[5] (Sofi Management): www.sofi.com/our-leadership/
[6] (Product Mint): productmint.com/the-sofi-business-model-...oes-sofi-make-money/
 

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Last edit: by dsamraj.

Sofi Research 7 months 4 weeks ago #49

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