Founder, SWS Venture Capital, Green Dot Corporation
Entrepreneur Steve Streit is likely best known as the inventor of the prepaid debit card industry and the founder and long-time CEO of Green Dot Corporation. [NYSE:GDOT]. From a company born at a table in his bedroom to the New York Stock Exchange, Mr. Streit’s persistence and drive for innovation has given him a reputation as a disruptor and forward-thinking industry leader.
Over his years at Green Dot, Mr. Streit was both a Regional and National winner of the EY “Entrepreneur of the Year” award, was named one of the “10 most innovative CEOs in Banking” by Bank Innovation, received many fintech and prepaid industry awards, was honored with several humanitarian awards from organizations like The LAPD Police Activities League (PAL), The Coach Art Foundation and others and was appointed as a board member for the Los Angeles branch of the United States Federal Reserve System.
By the time of his retirement from Green Dot at the end 2019- Steve’s 20th year as CEO- the Company had over 1000 employees at sites in both the United States and China with over 50 million customers using its vast array of products and services with annual revenue in excess of $1 Billion.
Prior to founding Green Dot, Steve worked for 19 years in the radio broadcasting industry and established several leading music radio formats that still exist today in major markets across the U.S. Steve is also an Emmy nominated executive producer with two documentaries: “Out of Omaha” and “Wrestle,” which received an Emmy nomination. Wrestle is a coming-of-age film that follows four wrestling teammates at a disadvantaged Alabama high school. Out of Omaha is a film that explores systemic injustice, following twin African American brothers growing up in Omaha, Nebraska.
Today, Steve Streit is both a venture capitalist and philanthropist, seeking to empower companies and individuals.
GREEN DOT CORPORATION
In late 1999, Steve Streit founded “Next Estate,” which, in 2004, he renamed Green Dot Corporation in an effort to create a unified and nationally marketable brand for the company’s prepaid cards and reload services, which were by then being nationally distributed through major pharmacies and convenience stores.
From 1999-2001 Green Dot was run out of Steve’s home from a small table in his bedroom serving as headquarters. Meetings with the tiny staff were held in the home’s dining room. By the end of Steve’s tenure as CEO, Green Dot would have over 1000 workers in offices and operation centers throughout America and China, provide banking services for more than 50 million customer accounts on its broad array of platforms and generate over $1 billion in annual revenue.
Post the 2008 financial crisis, Mr. Streit recognized that the rapidly evolving landscape of new major competitors, more stringent banking supervision and customers’ rapid adoption of smart phones and mobile technology meant that Green Dot would need to be much more than just a prepaid provider in order to maintain its leadership position into the next decade. As such, in 2011, “Green Dot Bank” became the first de novo bank application of its kind approved by the United States Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, it’s “Green Dot Reload Network” had expanded to serve millions of customers across hundreds of other competing prepaid and bank programs, and the company’s reputation as a financial technology leader began to emerge with the 2010 launch of “GoBank,” the nation’s first fully mobile bank account whereby customers could both open the account and access all features on the account via their smartphones.
In 2016, Steve pushed Green Dot into an entirely new category of financial services previously unheard of. Mr. Streit’s concept was named “Green Dot “BaaS” or “Banking as a Service.” While a tremendous amount of investment in technology design and development would be required and entirely new lines of regulatory oversight and approvals would need to be established, Mr. Streit believed that such a platform- an open, yet secure, API-driven banking platform- could allow other large enterprise level companies to utilize Green Dot’s well established, high-scale banking and operational infrastructure; thereby enabling Green Dot to grow revenue by satisfying the increasing demand for alternative banking services offered from non-traditional providers. The effort paid off. By the end of 2019, major partners like Apple, Uber, Intuit and many others were using Green Dot BaaS to provide bespoke banking products and services to tens of millions of their customers.
By the time of Steve’s retirement after 20 years as CEO, Green Dot had established itself as the largest prepaid debit card provider in the United States, the largest cash processing service in the United States, the largest tax refund processor in the United States and the largest Banking as a Service platform in the United States.
CURRENT WORK: SWS VENTURE CAPITAL
In 2018, Steve established SWS Venture Capital, a firm that he intended to help fund new and promising companies across several different industries, including fintech, health-tech, consumer platforms/products, and others.
Some of the past and present portfolio companies for Steve and SWS include:
- Braavo: a technology company changing the way mobile entrepreneurs finance and grow their app businesses. Using data, integrations, and automation, Braavo delivers performance-based funding for mobile app businesses on demand, without dilution or personal guarantees.
- Embedded Financial Technologies: Modern clearing & custody. Built from the ground up. Securities execution, clearing, settlement and custody APIs for broker-dealers, RIAs, banks and trust companies.
- Finix Payments: a fintech company that develops a payment processing platform for businesses.
- Gatsby: a no-commission stocks and options trading platform that makes investing approachable to everyone.
- Greenlight: a platform that empowers parents to teach trade-off decisions, money management, and the power of saving with a special Greenlight app experience just for kids.
- Gusto: provides a cloud-based payroll, benefits, and human resource management solution for businesses.
- Landing: provides thousands of apartments across the country that can be booked online in minutes with no long-term commitments, so users can live on their terms.
- Paloma Health: is the first digital medical practice helping hypothyroid patients better manage and treat their chronic condition.
- Railsbank: an Open Banking Platform and APIs empower financial innovators to create amazing financial services products and experiences for their clients.
- Scratch Financial: the world’s simplest patient financing solution.
- Shipt: a grocery delivery service that lets members order groceries and alcohol from their local store for delivery right to their door.
- Tortoise: an automated delivery platform for the retail and logistics industries
SWS aims to partner with strong entrepreneurs who have both the passion and skill to disrupt their respective industries and a clear path to creating products, services and technologies that serve customers for the better.
PATTI’S WAY: CHARITABLE GIVING
In honor of his late mother, in 2010, Mr. Streit founded the charity Patti’s Way, a 501(c)(3) foundation. Patti’s Way is dedicated to helping children and their single parents or guardians make it through financially challenging times through grants and advocacy. Patti’s Way partners with other charities to deliver grants it calls “Random Acts of Kindness.” Some of the charity’s beneficiaries include the Bresee Youth Center in Los Angeles, the Shelter for Abused Women and Children in Naples, Florida, Foothill Family Foundation in Pasadena, CA, Hollenbeck PAL in Los Angeles, CA, and many more.
Patti’s Way was created and named for Steve Streit’s mother, Patti, who throughout her life displayed remarkable non-judgmental compassion for those in need. Patti’s Way allows Steve to honor his mother’s legacy of kindness through ongoing “random acts of kindness.”
Mr. Streit resides in Naples, Florida.