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History is littered with failed startups that promised big things but didn’t deliver. One common feature of such disappointments is founders who did a great job getting the business off the ground but lacked the skills to scale it. In that context, credit is due to Fintech Pipe founders stepping back from the operational management of the business. Pipe today announced that it has hired Square exec Luke Voiles as its new CEO.
Pipe is a financing platform that allows recurring revenue-growing businesses to fund future sales by selling to investors. As Forbes reported last year, Pipe has helped 23,000 companies bring his $7 billion worth of assets to investors in the three years since its launch. Founders Harry Hurst, Josh Mangel and Zayn Aralakia built the company from the ground up and from investors he has raised over $300 million.
But now all three have stepped down from their business executive positions, with Voiles set to take over as CEO at the end of January. “Luke maximizes our company’s potential and we believe he is the right person to lead us to the next level of operational excellence,” he says.
Voiles’ career history certainly suggests he could be the right fit. After a series of roles in credit investing, he moved to Intuit, where he led a team that built a small business lending arm, then to fintech giant Square, where he was general manager of Square Banking. I was. In his role at Square Banking, Voiles led the team responsible for global scaling and management of Square Loans, Instant Transfers, Square Checking, and Square Savings. The Square Loans business now lends over $1 billion every quarter, making him one of the largest alternative lenders for small businesses in the world.
“Timing is really important,” Voiles says of his appointment. “I have the product development experience and leadership experience that Pipe really needs. A business that is well funded and ready to take it to the next level.”
The new CEO doesn’t envision a major turnaround for Pipe. Rather, his role is to execute Pipe’s founder’s vision at scale. “The fintech revolution is just beginning and there will be massive changes,” he predicts.
Voiles was also one of the first to applaud the Pipe founder’s decision to exit. “This is a founder low-ego move,” he says. “I think they recognize a dangerous moment for an early-stage business. We have to face it all.”
It’s not like the founders have completely disappeared. Mangel and Allarakhia will continue to serve on the Board of Directors, providing advice and support to the new CEO. Hirst resigns from the board, but retains his position as an advisor.
The business will also receive additional support from Zilch USA CEO Albert Periu, who will join Pipe’s board of directors this month. Periu’s previous roles include stints at Funding Circle, an online lending platform that has built a substantial business in both the US and UK.
As your business continues to grow, Pipe’s transformation takes place. Initially focused on the software-as-a-service space business, more than 50% of its trading volume now comes from outside this segment.
“We are in a transformational period in the evolution of fintech,” adds Voiles. “Embedded financial services are disrupting the status quo and Pipe has the opportunity to show the world what the future of capital access looks like.”