We’re excited to announce that Arpan Shah has joined Pear as a FinTech Visiting Partner! He’s working with Pear companies to share his learnings earned through founding and selling his financial APIs company to Plaid, as well as leading engineering at Robinhood for over 5 years. We’re incredibly glad to be working with him again many years after he graduated from our first Pear Stanford Garage cohort in 2014.
When we started Pear Stanford Garage in 2014, Arpan Shah was among the first 12 members in our inaugural cohort. “There were a few things that I found really fun and exciting in particular: getting a chance to meet with a lot of founders, figuring out approaches to early product, iterating on products, fundraising, timing, team building— the elements which go into starting an early early company. I learned a lot of that through the conversations, talks, and sessions that we had at Garage.” We’re so excited to partner with Arpan as a Visiting Partner and have his support for our Winter Accelerator!
After earning a Masters in Computer Science at Stanford, Arpan joined Robinhood as an early engineer in the founding team. “Pear played a role in that; I really felt like a lot of value could be created by being part of something super early. I ended up joining Robinhood at the time because I felt like finance was a big part of all of our lives,” Arpan says. “I was particularly excited because I’d always found investing to be hard in the US.”
Arpan eventually became the Head of Data Platform and Data Products at Robinhood, leading a team of 40+ engineers and engineering managers. “I helped start the data team there, and I grew that into areas like risk and fraud, growth and marketing, data products like search, newsfeed, various aspects of the crypto product, data infrastructure, experimentation, and data platforms.”
“In October 2020, I started Flannel. I had seen a lot of the challenges of money moving in the US being super slow,” Arpan says. “My co-founder and I really felt like we could make that a lot better by leveraging some of the more modern payment methods that were starting to emerge.” Flannel raised a $6.3m seed from Accel and Index, launched an early product, and last March, Arpan sold the company to Plaid.
Throughout the years, Arpan has been angel investing across companies in investing, insurance tech, lending, financial access. “The thing that I’m hoping to bring as a Visiting Partner to Pear is a lot of my FinTech experience— the network I have amongst FinTech practitioners and entrepreneurs as well as helping inform appropriate methods to grow businesses and partner with companies.”
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“I’m really, really looking forward to working with founders who are building really innovative products that help expand what is possible here in the US when it comes to financial access or financial products,” says Arpan. “When you look at a lot of the other parts of the world, it’s remarkable how much innovation has happened in the financial landscape over the last decade. I think a lot of people think that we’re in the last legs of it, but honestly, I think we’re just getting started. I’m really excited to see all the exciting innovative stuff people can come up with, especially as newer ecosystems like crypto get unlocked and better infrastructure comes online.”