Today the skunkworks operation that Bird created, known as Citi FinTech, is made up of about 40 employees handpicked from various parts of Citi and poached from tech companies such as Amazon andPayPal. In keeping with the outsider mentality Bird wants, the operation is based not in Citigroup’s Manhattan headquarters but across the East River in Queens, on the 10th floor of a Citi building that also houses the credit card business. On one wall there’s a five-by-10-foot chart listing all of Citi’s new fintech competitors and which of the megabank’s business lines each startup puts in jeopardy—from payments to commercial lending to wealth management. Not far away is the requisite appurtenance of every startup: a foosball table.
“While the previous list contained 192 companies, the current version has 268 entries across the same categories, basically adding 76 companies to the mix. I’ve renamed Supply Chain to Trade Finance to more accurately reflect the function being served, and renamed Trading to Trading Platforms, since many companies in that segment were actually platforms for performing trades.
In terms of pinpointing where the major additions went, you will see the most swelling in the following categories: Capital Markets, Trade Finance, Banks, Trading Platforms, Compliance, Money Services, and Platforms.”