Personal finance app Dave just hired one of the lead executives behind the Apple Card, and he's already thinking about new features the startup can roll out
- Jarad Fisher, a former lead executive of the Apple Card, has joined fintech personal finance app Dave as chief commercial officer.
- Fisher will lead global strategy for Dave's expanding set of offerings, including the recently launched Dave Banking.
- Dave continues to challenge traditional Wall Street banks by targeting services to working Americans and the unbanked population.
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One of the lead executives behind the Apple Card has joined Dave as its first chief commercial officer.
The Los Angeles-based personal finance app announced Tuesday that Jarad Fisher will drive the startup's global product strategy in the newly created role. His focus will include expanding on Dave's offerings and developing partnerships.
Fisher joins Dave from Apple, where he was program, product and business lead for the Apple Card.
Previously, Fisher spent time at Delta Air Lines — where he served as director of the SkyMiles program — as well as McKinsey & Company.
Read more: Dave, a fintech startup backed by Mark Cuban and Diplo, is launching a checking account that helps users build their credit score
While Dave was first known for providing cash advances to avoid overdraft fees, the company has been growing services for its 8 million members. In 2020 the startup rolled out Dave Banking — a spending account and debit card with free withdrawals at 32,000 MoneyPass ATMs and no monthly fees.
Fisher's new role follows a recent string of 2020 hirings for Dave — including chief people officer Shannon Sullivan and chief marketing officer Jonathan Mildenhall, a marketing veteran and former CMO of Airbnb. The startup, which is backed by the likes of Mark Cuban and Diplo, was last valued at $1 billion when it raised a $50 million Series B in September 2019.
Dave checked all the right boxes for Fisher's next move
At Apple, Fisher brought membership card expertise to the Apple Card team.
His experience building out debit and credit card partnerships for the Delta SkyMiles program allowed Fisher to provide support for Apple's first endeavor into credit cards — from understanding market dynamics to anticipating what would be most exciting when products launch.
After the rollout of the Apple Card in 2019, Fisher was inspired to think of new endeavors by a Steve Jobs quote displayed at Apple headquarters.
"If you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what's next."
After spending five years at Apple, Fisher said he gained direct experience with "about a 100 million people living paycheck-to-paycheck in this country." Ultimately, seeking to help those individuals was what drew him to Dave and their mission to help people build financial independence.
Additionally, Fisher was excited by the fast-paced "ship it" mentality that drives growing startups.
"Being at a much smaller shop with people who are really inspired to get results fast, to get results quick, to be willing to take risks to get stuff out in the market and understand how they're resonating with customers … that's a completely different frame of mind," said Fisher.
"Dave not only checked every box, but checked boxes that [I] didn't even know were there," he added.
Fisher's new role includes thinking about partnerships, new offerings
As Dave's first chief commercial officer, Fisher sees his role as "effectively designing a series of products, features, services, and experiences that best serve needs," of the customers.
Fisher will be pulling on experience from his days at McKinsey, Delta, and Apple where he learned the common thread for building effective offerings is to get as close to the customer as possible.
"The best work, but also the most exciting work, was all centered around customer interactions and improving people's lives," said Fisher.
In his new role, Fisher said he looks to take a "clean sheet approach" to Dave's partnerships, giving "a fresh lens on how to think about partnerships and financial services." In building new relationships, Fisher added he will be looking for partners who share in Dave's mission driven approach and values to "really put the customers front and center."
While Fisher did not offer details about new potential partners for Dave, he referenced existing partners Mastercard and LevelCredit as part of his vision to deliver "the types of partnerships and relationships that will meaningfully change people's lives."
See more: Inside Mastercard's playbook for attracting fintechs. An exec outlines the strategy that has helped the card giant nab high-profile startups like Brex, SoFi, MoneyLion, and Dave.
Looking to 2021, Fisher has set his sight on three goals — engaging customers, increasing ratings, and expanding the team.
While Fisher said growth is a key goal, he's also focused on substance and learning if Dave's 8 million customers are enjoying its app as they use it and driving deeper engagement.
"Are they going to the app more often? Are they frequenting us? Are we becoming, over time, their bank and platform of choice?" said Fisher.
"That will truly be the best litmus test and evidence that some of the other things that we're doing around building out and developing our suite of products and services is working," said Fisher.
Dave currently has a 4.8-star rating in the Apple Store. While Dave snagged the App of the Day title back in 2017, this year Fisher wants to close the gap and reach the coveted 5.0-star rating.
Dave is not only aiming to build the next generation of financial offerings this year, but also looking to attract a "world-class team" to build it, Fisher said. The company is focused on increasing the well-being of both its customers and its employees.
"Being able to become a place where people are really excited to work [and] love working to help enrich the lives of millions of customers, I think would be an amazing first-year accomplishment," said Fisher.
Dave sits in a competitive market
Dave's goal is to make banking more transparent and approachable, especially for America's "unbanked" population. According to a 2019 Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) survey, 7.1 million US households are unbanked — living without a savings or checking account at a bank or credit union.
"35% of people cite high fees as a barrier to opening a bank account and 80% of people have even said they don't have enough money to afford a bank account — that for me is just unacceptable," said Fisher. "There shouldn't be a single American who is able to say they don't have enough money to be able to put their money some place safe."
See more: Digital-only banks have doubled their consumer bases and raised $4.6 billion in funding this year. Here's how startups like Chime, Dave, and Acorns are making big strides in 2020.
However, Dave isn't alone in its quest. The past decade has seen an explosion of personal finance apps offering no-fee banking services. Digital-only banks saw massive growth in 2020, and many have looked to expand beyond their initial roots as a way to lure in new customers.
When the pandemic hit, Dave looked for creative ways to support its customers waiting for stimulus checks. Side Hustle, a featured launched in 2019 to help customers find freelance jobs, was adapted to include remote work. In 2020, Dave members earned nearly $160 million in revenue through Side Hustle.
Fisher noted Side Hustle as one of the many ways Dave differentiates itself from competitors.
"Being able to put money in people's paychecks … was really something that not every financial institution was thinking about," he said.
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