NBA star Russell Westbrook invests in Varo Bank after $63 million funding round

Russell Westbrook #four of the Washington Wizards reacts previous to enjoying in opposition to the Denver Nuggets at Capital One Arena on February 17, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Will Newton | Getty Images

National Basketball Association star Russell Westbrook has joined monetary tech agency Varo Bank as a brand new investor after the corporate raised $63 million in a brand new funding round.

Varo Bank introduced the funding round on Thursday, including Westbrook’s funding was made via his enterprise agency. Investment firm Jefferies Group suggested Westbrook in the transition.

Terms of Westbrook’s funding weren’t made obtainable.

Varo, a digitally-focused financial institution, stated the funds can be used to “further develop the product roadmap, including additional credit, savings, and transaction banking features.”

In 2020, Varo grew to become the primary consumer-focused fintech firm to get approval from the FDIC, so it is thought-about a nationwide financial institution and allowed it to take buyer deposits. Previously, the fintech agency was valued at $417.8 million, in line with Pitchbook.

“We see it as a pretty big moat,” Varo Money CEO Colin Walsh instructed CNBC final February when discussing the approval. “It was a long process – for this to finally see daylight is a big deal for the industry.”

Westbrook, 32, can even be an advisor to the financial institution and focus his efforts to enhancing revenue inequality points through Varo-driven packages focusing on minority communities. He additionally desires to strengthen banking relations with the Black neighborhood.

“The banking system has ignored or underserved a large portion of the American population – particularly communities of color,” Westbrook stated in an announcement. “I’m passionate about making lasting social change and creating a stronger and more inclusive system. I am excited and ready to work with Varo to be a part of an economic revitalization for those who never had the access they deserved.”

In his first 12 months with the Washington Wizards, Westbrook is averaging 18.9 factors, 9.four rebounds and 9.5 assists. Westbrook is incomes roughly $41 million this season, which is a part of a five-year $206 million extension he signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2017.

“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,” added Walsh. “We both share a view that banking can be – and needs to be – a force for good.  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.”

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