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Goldman Sachs' Marcus is partnering with card issuer Marqeta for its upcoming checking accounts in another big win for the $4.3 billion startup

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Jason Gardner Jason Gardner, founder and CEO of Marqeta.

  • Goldman Sachs is building checking accounts for its consumer-banking play, Marcus. The accounts are expected to launch in late 2021.
  • Marqeta, the $4.3 billion fintech that helps companies issue cards, will power Marcus’ debit cards.
  • Marqeta founder and CEO Jason Gardner told Insider the partnership came through a years-long relationship with Goldman, which invested in Marqeta in 2016.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Consumers historically relied on branch locations to choose a bank. But now, they’re getting used to managing all their finances online with the proliferation of digital-only banks. 

Goldman Sachs’ Marcus is one such bank, starting in lending and savings. Now, it’s planning to launch checking accounts for Marcus in late 2021. 

With checking accounts come debit cards. And behind most fintechs’ debit cards are issuing partners like Marqeta, Galileo, DaVinci Payments and Stripe, to name a few. 

And Marqeta won the bid to be Goldman’s card-issuing partner.

Read more: The CEO of $1.9 billion Marqeta says it’s looking to boost its headcount by 20% and is eyeing smaller startups to buy

Through its open-API (meaning plug-and-play) card-issuing offering, Marqeta powers consumer-facing companies like Instacart, Square’s Cash App, and buy now, pay later fintech Affirm, which went public on Wednesday

Marqeta’s existing relationship with Goldman didn’t hurt

Marqeta founder and CEO Jason Gardner told Insider the deal was less a sale than a partnership that came through a years-long relationship with Goldman, which invested in Marqeta in 2016.

“It’s not a transaction, per se,” Gardner said. “It’s years of getting to know the team, sharing roadmaps of where we’re headed and what we’re going to do, which ultimately comes to Goldman Sachs choosing Marketa to help them build these products.”

The startup has raised over $520 million to date from investors, including Coatue, Greylock, and Spark Capital, as well as the corporate venture arms of Mastercard and Visa. It was last valued at $4.3 billion following a $150 million fundraise last May

Read more: $4.3 billion Marqeta is targeting a wider range of customers for its digital cards with a new ‘tokenization-as-a-service’ push

And winning Goldman’s business is, for Gardner, a validation of Marqeta’s business model.

“It not only underscores what we’re doing and that our strategy is in the correct direction,” Gardner said, “it’s really a true validation of what we’re up to in regards to powering these next-generation digital banks.”

To be sure, Marqeta wasn’t the only issuer Goldman considered.

“It was competitive. They were looking at other platforms,” Gardner said. “They truly believed in modern card issuing, in what we are building, and in our strategy.”

Marqeta’s Marcus partnership comes off the heels of another win with a major bank in 2020: JPMorgan.

2020 was a big year for the fintech, with a number of macro factors serving as tailwinds for it. The proliferation of digital payments and banking, by necessity, as well as traction in the on-demand delivery market with customers like DoorDash, Instacart, and UberEats, all proved big boosts for Marqeta.

At the end of 2019, Marqeta had issued 140 million cards since its launch in 2010. In 2020 alone, it nearly doubled that count to 270 million total cards issued, an increase of over 90%.