NBA star Russel Westbrook leads $63m investment in Varo Bank
US digital challenger Varo Bank has raised $63 million in a corporate funding round from Russell Westbrook Enterprises.
The investment firm is led by former NBA all-star Russell Westbrook, while Jefferies LLC acted as advisor.
Westbrook will join Varo as an investor and has “direct input” on the bank’s future. He will focus on the lender’s community-focused strategies for communities of colour.
“The banking system has ignored or underserved a large portion of the American population – particularly communities of colour,” says Westbrook.
“I am excited and ready to work with Varo to be a part of an economic revitalisation for those who never had the access they deserved.”
Westbrook joins a range of existing investors including Warburg Pincus, The Rise Fund, and Gallatin Point Capital.
The round is Varo Bank’s seventh since its 2015 founding. The de novo bank has raised $482 million in that time.
It claims to be the first consumer fintech in the US to receive a national bank charter.
Varo provides no-fee checking and savings accounts with no overdraft fees through its mobile application. It bought the accounts of its 2 million customers from Bancorp.
“The Varo team is thrilled Russell is joining us on our trailblazing journey as the only all-digital, mission-driven national bank in the country,” says Colin Walsh, Varo CEO.
“Russell is a visionary and his energy and passion for design, product excellence, and community impact will help propel Varo’s next phase of growth.”