a16z-backed fintech Synapse lays off 40% of its staff

Even the brightest stars can experience turbulence in the fast-paced finance industry, where innovation rules supreme. With the revelation of significant layoffs, Synapse, a financial firm with headquarters in San Francisco, shocked the sector. This is the second round of employee cuts in recent months. We investigate the specifics of these layoffs, the unique history of Synapse, and the potential repercussions on the fintech industry as a whole as the fintech giant struggles to navigate a changing financial landscape.

Credits: Tech Crunch

The Layoffs at Synapse

Synapse, a provider of financial technology, has revealed that it just let go of 86 employees, or an astounding 40% of its workforce. This depressing report comes after a prior round of layoffs in June during which the company said goodbye to 18% of its workforce. According to Synapse’s official statement, the “current macroeconomic conditions” have started to throw a shadow over its clients and platforms, impeding the company’s once-ambitious expansion goals.

Fintech Business Weekly’s reporting on the last round of layoffs included the bombshell that Mercury, one of Synapse’s well-known clients, had given notice of non-renewal and intended to switch directly to Evolve. This revelation casts doubts on the company’s client relationships and raises intriguing questions about the driving forces behind such a significant client exodus.

Synapse: A Brief Odyssey

Let’s take a step back and glimpse into the intriguing history of Synapse, which originally sailed under the name SynapseFi. Founded in 2014 by Bryan Keltner and the India-born CEO Sankaet Pathak, the company’s inception was nothing short of a personal quest. Pathak, an international student in the United States, experienced firsthand the exasperating hurdles of opening a bank account without a U.S. social security history. This ordeal birthed the idea for Synapse, a revolutionary banking-as-a-service platform.

Synapse’s platform is the gateway through which traditional banks and fintech luminaries enter the realm of financial innovation. It offers a treasure trove of services, including account creation, transaction processing, and risk management, making it the lodestar for businesses aiming to redefine the financial sector.

Synapse’s meteoric rise was punctuated by a $33 million Series B funding round led by the illustrious Andreessen Horowitz in 2019. The startup’s remarkable journey has amassed over $50 million in venture capital. With substantial financial backing and an innovative ethos, Synapse was poised to redefine fintech on a grand scale.

The Impact of Layoffs

The repercussions of Synapse’s layoffs reverberate far beyond the company’s walls, sparking a series of pertinent questions:

Client Conundrum: The abrupt departure of Mercury, one of Synapse’s paramount clients, sends ripples across the industry. It raises red flags about Synapse’s stability and leaves the fintech world pondering the reasons behind such a significant client defection. Fintech clients hinge their trust on service providers like Synapse, seeking a bedrock of reliability and scalability.

Unpacking Macroeconomic Challenges: Synapse’s reference to “current macroeconomic conditions” raises eyebrows. While economic fluctuations can undoubtedly sway the fintech sector, a more transparent insight into how these conditions specifically affect Synapse is essential. A clearer narrative of the challenges could empower the industry to adapt and thrive in the face of economic turbulence.

The Fintech Arena’s Heat: The fintech domain is a battleground, where competition is fierce, and innovation is non-negotiable. Synapse’s layoffs might well be emblematic of the intense competition that prevails, emphasizing the need for continuous evolution and adaptation to maintain an edge.

Investor Sentiment: In the wake of the layoffs and client attrition, the question of how investors will respond looms large. Investor confidence is the lifeblood of fintech startups, often fueling their growth and competitiveness. The impact of Synapse’s recent woes on investor sentiment remains an open book.


The fintech stage has always been a theater of innovation, where startups seek to disrupt traditional finance. Synapse’s recent layoffs serve as a gripping subplot in this narrative, underscoring the relentless challenges that fintech firms face amid an ever-evolving landscape.