We’re live, thanks to you awesome people
It’s true – I struggle to imagine a way we would have convinced Visa, our processing partner and gateway partner (both very large publicly traded entities), the bank, and our investors that this should exist without your support. So thank you. Even just by signing up to a waitlist with your email, having over 90,000 people put up their hand and say they want to use Final is what convinced us to push as hard as we have.
If you feel like you haven’t heard much from us in a while, you’d be right. We’ve been quiet, on purpose, doing our best to focus on the most important task at hand – building the team and technology that powers Final and finding the right partners who shared our vision.
We could’ve sent out newsletters every week and brought you along for the ride, though considering the details we couldn’t legally share during contract negotiations with all these companies, it wouldn’t have been much fun to read (trust us on that). So we decided to wait until we had good news to share before posting this and emailing you.
Why did it take us two years to launch?
When you think about the goal, it was always going to be a heavy lift. Instead of just building a technology service, white labeling it and licensing it to banks, we were set on making the biggest impact we could with the most freedom to make our own decisions on user experience and functionality.
That required building a full-stack issuing company. Meaning, we build the technology in-house, customer support, marketing, compliance, operations, and moving forward, working our asses off to develop a brand that stands apart from big banks – one that people associate with a fierce devotion to exceptional user experience.
That’s not to say we haven’t taken inspiration from companies that have been at this longer. We’ve looked to our friends at Simple; when it comes to amazing human-oriented service, they’re leading payment companies by a significant margin.
And as much as we try to emphasize the difference between checking and credit products, we certainly recognize the similarity in how we both see the evolution of financial services and the companies that can provide them.
When working in payments, the crux is solving the BD challenges.
We knew getting into this industry, the biggest hurdles would be on the business side of the house. I wouldn’t say the technology piece was easy, but breaking into a highly-regulated industry as a small company is never straight forward – add the presence of a handful of $100B+ incumbents, an oligopoly of payment processors acting as the gatekeepers instead of service providers, all with 3-year project pipelines and still running on COBOL, and the incredible nuance of PCI regulation and lending laws, and you get an idea for what we’ve been up against for the last two years.
Let me put it another way: When it comes to the work required before the first dollar of revenue, on a scale from lemonade stand to nuclear power plant, a fully compliant credit card issuing company is closer to the latter.
The product will only get better, but we need your feedback.
Now that we’re live, we’ll be sending out invites to onboard people from the waitlist. If you don’t get one right away, don’t worry - we haven’t forgotten you. For several reasons, we can’t open the floodgates and invite everyone to apply in the first week, so it will be a trickled roll-out.
We’ve done our absolute best to make sure the product is intuitive and as straight-forward as possible. If you have feedback or find what looks like a bug, don’t hesitate to tell us - firstname.lastname@example.org. I promise we’ll be nothing but thankful. Direct feedback from active cardholders will always weigh heaviest when we think about new features or design revisions.
It took a village to raise this one.
Along with the entire team here: Abhi, Evan, Kyle, Andy, Alex, Gene, Victoria, Davis, Scott, Ben, Andrew, Matt, and everyone who has helped advise us along the way, we wouldn’t have made it to this point without the support of our investors: Runa Capital, DRW, KPCB Edge fund, Ludlow Ventures, Digital Garage, T5, Y-Combinator, and Techstars.
This isn’t day 1 for us, but it’s certainly the beginning of a great thing.
– Aaron Frank, Cardholder, Cofounder & CEO