Dustin Hubbard, President and founder of Archway Software, spoke with Madrona Venture Labs to discuss the company and his journey from leading digital transformation at a mid-sized bank to starting a company that makes modernization accessible to all banks. Earlier this year, Archway raised $15 million in Series-A funding from Madrona, WaFd Bank (WaFd), and Madrona Venture Labs (MVL). The company was recently featured on Geekwire and American Banker.
Archway’s launch was the result of a multi-year partnership between Madrona, MVL, and WaFd. In 2019, soon after joining WaFd Bank as it’s CTO, Dustin realized that finding a path to deliver a better digital experience for WaFd’s customers was going to be a tall order. Like other antiquated and monolithic software stacks, traditional bank platforms, the kind that powers nearly every bank and credit union in the US, limits even the most forward thinking banks from leveraging new innovations in data management, AI, and inter-systems connectivity.
Instead of working within those constraints, Dustin and his team conceptualized and built an infrastructure-to-application platform that enabled WaFd to innovate on top of any traditional bank software, and do so at the speed of a modern technology company without incurring the business risks associated with a wholesale core systems migration. With this new platform, Archway was able to help WaFd launch voice banking in just weeks.
In collaboration with MVL, Dustin confirmed what he suspected to be true all along – Thousands of other banks and credit unions face the same challenge and need help.
Archway is a banking platform that provides a single access point to easily connect any banking platform to third-party software, data management, and AI providers, with pre-assembled integrations. They want to help mid-market banks by putting them on a level playing field with the largest banks in America. Many of these banks don’t have the same technical capabilities or know how to unify their data and create modern digital experiences. Archway can help them do so quickly and cost effectively.
Dustin began his career at Microsoft after graduating from the University of Washington. He worked there for almost 15 years where he led numerous incubation projects, as well as products in enterprise software and gaming.
After helping to build and sell a digital transformation company in insurance, he transitioned to WaFd to help them reimagine digital banking for customers. This experience allowed him to envision and build the foundation for Archway, a company that has been four years in the making.
What is Dustin’s advice to aspiring founders?
"You have to start with something that you really passionately care about because building a business is a long road. It's a lot of work, but if you love it, you're going to endure the hard times.”
“One company that I've always really admired is Netflix. And the reason is because of how many times they've had to reinvent themselves. You think about the business model evolution of Netflix, this is a company that easily could have gone out of business two or three times already!”
“What Madrona and MVL really helped me do is see potential in what I built; put together a sound business case around it, understand the size of the opportunity, and how to find and reach the target customer. I think a lot of times entrepreneurs need help from experienced company builders in order to take the vision and go ‘here's how you craft that into a story and a business that customers and investors will get excited about,’” Hubbard said.
MVL also helped validate with banks and industry experts that there was an unmet need large enough to pursue a venture-scale spinout. Banking Technology is becoming a more crowded space, and Dustin is excited to be a part of disrupting a sector that is notoriously slow at adopting new technology. “I like that innovation is finally pushing the entire industry forward. The timing for Archway couldn’t be better.”
Within the next year Archway has aggressive hiring goals. First, for engineering and later on for sales and marketing professionals. If you are interested in working with Archway, you can find available jobs on their career page or get in touch through their website.
Founder Spotlight is a series dedicated to bringing you insights into the founder journey, lessons learned from startup leaders, and a behind the scenes look at some of the most compelling tech companies in our community.
We are with our founders from day one, for the long run.