Chime co-founders Chris Britt and Ryan King pitched more than 200 investors in Silicon Valley during the banking startup’s first four years. Nearly every firm passed on it. “It was a little bit of a rocky road just trying to get our footing,” said Britt.
The eight-year-old startup, which provides fee-free debit cards for consumers, eventually raised over $1.4 billion in total at a recent $14.5 billion valuation, making it the most highly valued U.S. digital banking startup. Investors’ early skepticism means that the best-known venture firms, including Sequoia Capital and Andreessen Horowitz, are missing from Chime’s cap table. Instead, a cluster of smaller firms such as Forerunner Ventures stand to benefit the most from an expected stock listing.