Disruptor 50 2021

7. Marqeta

Founder: Jason Gardner (CEO)
Launched: 2010
Headquarters: Oakland, California
$528 million
Valuation: $4.3 billion
Previous appearances on Disruptor 50 List: 1 (No. 33 in 2020)

Persephone Kavallines

As Americans worked from home over the last year, digital and contactless payments became a pandemic juggernaut — which is why it's no wonder that fintech is a major factor in this year's CNBC Disruptor 50 list. Contributing to the trend is Marqeta, providing the tools to companies across sectors that have been forced to offer a new version of a credit or debit card, wallet and other payment mechanisms. Customers include DoorDash, Instacart, Uber, JPMorgan Chase and Affirm.

Founded in 2010 and based in Oakland, California, Marqeta sells payment technology that's designed to detect potential fraud and ensure that money is properly routed. The company issues customized physical cards that look like credit and debit cards, which contractors use to make point-of-sale purchases from restaurants or supermarkets.

Marqeta makes money in a similar way to incumbents Mastercard and Visa — by taking a percentage cut of every transaction from customers, and some software fees. In July, JPMorgan Chase partnered with Marqeta to launch "virtual" credit cards that allow the Wall Street bank to work in mobile wallets such as Apple Pay or Samsung Pay immediately — without having to wait for a physical version in the mail.

Two weeks ago, the company filed to go public and disclosed annualized revenue growth in the first quarter of 123% to $108 million, while its net loss narrowed to $12.8 million from $14.5 million a year earlier. In 2020, annual revenue more than doubled to $290.3 million.

The company says the total addressable global market for card payments has reached $45 trillion and is expected to grow to $80 trillion by 2030. The growth is coming from digital banks and other disruptors that are using services like the Marqeta card-issuing platform to offer payment programs to their customers, an approach not even possible just a decade ago.

Many Marqeta top customers are coming off record years as the pandemic pushed commerce to mobile devices. In addition to meal-delivery companies, Marqeta powers Square's debit card for small business owners and its popular Cash App for peer-to-peer payments. Affirm and Klarna, which provide small-dollar lending to consumers for purchases like bikes and TVs, use Marqeta's technology to move money with their installment loans.

Contributed by Riley de León

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