Rumors & Acquisitions: BankSimple and Its Lead Engineer Abruptly Parted Ways This Week

Rumor roundup, Rapture edition.

PUBLIC BREAK-UPS. Just as BankSimple starts privately testing the first versions of its check cards, we find out that its San Francisco-based lead engineer Dave Fayram abruptly left the company on less-than-ideal circumstances. “I’ve stepped down from my position as lead engineer of BankSimple. I wish them good luck, with or without me,” he tweeted on May 16. He doesn’t know what he’s doing next, he said.

He also wrote in response to @ replies: Why? “Not enough characters to accurately explain in this medium.” Are you moving on or being reassigned? “I’m moving on. It’s be difficult to reassign in such a small company.” I’m sad.I am sad too. It was a project I am proud of.”

The next day, he tweeted: “I am not very experienced in how to end days like today. I’m pretty sure they don’t end on their own.”

Speculation broke out on the hacker forum Hacker News, where CTO Alex Payne weighed in to say the lead engineer leaving before launch in the absence of a more attractive offer does not mean there is anything wrong with his start-up, but gave few clues as to the reason for the disagreement or whether Mr. Fayram quit or was fired or why he no longer works there.

“I’m the CTO of BankSimple. I can confidently say that there’s nothing fundamentally broken about the concept or company. BankSimple wasn’t the right place for Dave, but he’s a brilliant programmer – seriously, one of the best I’ve ever worked with – who will end up doing great things no matter where he ends up. I’m really grateful that we got a chance to work with him.

“To be clear: this is not the easiest business in the world to start, particularly given the slow-moving pace of the banking industry, regulatory burdens, etc. But we’ve been making substantial progress, and we have a growing team who do fantastic work.

“You are, of course, free to be skeptical of how I present the state of our company because it’s in my best interest to put a positive spin on things. That said, it’s also in my best interest to be open, because we know that many of our early (potential) customers are coming from communities like this one, and building trust is critical for our success.”

Betabeat emailed both Mr. Fayram and BankSimple but did not receive a reply by the end of the (EST) day.

SECRET SHUFFLES. A few employees at a well-established, revenue-generating New York start-up are covering for each other behind the boss’s back as at least one prepares to jump ship for a start-up that’s about to get funding.

Disclosure. Rumors & Acquisitions: BankSimple and Its Lead Engineer Abruptly Parted Ways This Week