Bloomberg Law
Free Newsletter Sign Up
Login
BROWSE
Bloomberg Law
Welcome
Login
Advanced Search Go
Free Newsletter Sign Up

Fintech Outfit Greenlight Taps Outside Counsel as Top Lawyer (1)

March 24, 2022, 8:02 PMUpdated: March 24, 2022, 10:00 PM

Greenlight Financial Technology Inc., a startup that helps teach children about personal finance, said Thursday it hired Douglas Spear as chief legal officer.

Spear is the leader of the emerging companies practice at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough. He served as outside counsel to Greenlight since 2015.

“I have enjoyed working with the team for many years,” Spear said in a statement. “I am honored to help support this exceptional business in my new role as it continues on its high-growth trajectory.”

He joins the company after Greenlight’s banking and debit card app for kids came under scrutiny for the personal data it collects. Greenlight has said it doesn’t sell personal information in exchange for money but does share data with third parties for users over 18.

At Nelson Mullins, Spear specialized in counseling angel investors, technology companies, and venture capital firms on corporate governance, finance, and merger-related matters. He spent the past dozen years at the law firm in Atlanta after working as a partner at DLA Piper and associate at Morris, Manning & Martin.

Spear led a team from Nelson Mullins last year that advised the Atlanta-based Greenlight on its $260 million Series D fundraising. That investment round led by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz valued Greenlight at $2.3 billion.

Greenlight has to date raised more than $550 million from investors, which also include LionTree LLC and Wellington Management Co.

Nelson Mullins and Spear have handled prior fundraisings for Greenlight, and the firm represented the company in a trade secrets lawsuit it filed last year. Court filings show that case has been the subject of a dispute over jurisdiction.

Nelson Mullins remains principal outside counsel to the company, Greenlight spokeswoman Joann Wobby said. Spear will oversee both the legal and compliance divisions at Greenlight, she said.

The company named attorney Jessica Gebhardt its chief compliance officer last year, while general counsel Bradley Fauss has worked for Greenlight since mid-2019. Both will continue in those roles under Spear’s leadership, Wobby said.

Another lawyer hired last year, senior corporate counsel Margaret Geer Wood, reports to Fauss. Wood spent the past three years at Fiserv Inc., a financial services company that last year hired Adam Rosman as chief administrative and legal officer.

Greenlight spent a reported $7 million to air a television advertisement during the Super Bowl in February featuring Ty Burrell, an actor and comedian who starred in the sitcom “Modern Family.”

Stripe Hires

Greenlight isn’t the only fintech firm scoring new legal talent.

Nium Inc., a payments startup whose valuation topped $1 billion last year, announced Thursday its promotion of head of regulatory affairs and product legal Dylan Lowrey to general counsel. Nium is based in San Francisco and Singapore, and Lowrey works out of San Francisco.

Lowrey joined Nium late last year after serving as team lead and product counsel at payments processor Stripe Inc., where he spent roughly four years. The former White & Case bank finance associate previously was acting head of legal for U.S. corporate banking at British financial services giant Barclays Plc.

Bloomberg News reported last year on Nium’s plans to pursue an initial public offering in the U.S.

Christine Habeeb, another former product counsel at Stripe, was announced last month as the first-ever legal chief for Tango Card Inc., a Seattle-based fintech focused on digital rewards and incentives.

Habeeb, a former Hogan Lovells associate, spent two years at Stripe and almost a half-dozen years at Amazon.com Inc., where she was a senior lawyer for payments regulatory matters.

She spoke with trade publication Corporate Counsel earlier this month about how her decision to become a specialist, rather than a generalist, helped Habeeb transition into law department leadership.

More Fintech Recruits

Stavvy Inc., a Boston-based fintech focused on home finance, also announced Thursday its appointment of general counsel and chief compliance officer Brooke Adams. Stavvy’s new top lawyer spent nearly the past nine years at Fannie Mae, where she was most recently an associate general counsel.

Adams joins a company that raised $40 million in Series A venture financing last year to further its mission of helping homeowners find ways to modify their loans. Adams comes aboard after Stavvy saw former head of compliance and consumer production Beth Lehman depart in January.

Lehman, who also was corporate counsel to Stavvy after being hired last year, is now a managing director of legal and compliance at Twin Focus Capital Partners LLC, according to the website for the boutique multifamily office.

(Adds information on new top lawyers at Nium, Stavvy, and Tango Card.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at bbaxter@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com; John Hughes at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com