When Brad Garlinghouse, the CEO of Ripple, has to explain to his mother, who lives in Kansas, what his company does, he says, “Mom, it’s pretty simple. We sell software to banks.”
But it isn’t quite that simple. Most fintech startups fall into one of two camps: those that want to compete with banks and those that want to save banks from themselves. Ripple is the rare exception that wants to do both.
The San Francisco startup, which began years ago by launching a cryptocurrency but has since turned its attention to business applications for blockchain technology, can easily prove its bona fides in the second camp. The fact that 60 banks are now in the process of commercially deploying Ripple’s enterprise software—among them Santander, Royal Bank of Canada and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group—reflects the company’s incumbent-friendly approach.
“We’re not the disruptors, we’re not the guys who come in and tear everything down,” said Stefan Thomas, Ripple’s chief technology officer.