Visa today that it is buying financial services API startup Plaid for $5.3 billion.
Plaid develops financial services APIs. It is akin to what Stripe does for payments, but instead of facilitating payments, it helps developers share banking and other financial information more easily. It’s the kind of service that makes sense for a company like Visa.
For Visa, however, there’s likely something more to the deal. Namely, it now has a view into scads of high-growth, private companies that are reinventing the world in which Visa operates. Buying Plaid is insurance against disruption for Visa, and also a way to know who to buy.