February 20th, 2014

Portland startup Simple acquired by BBVA for $117 million, ramping up hiring


Portland startup Simple acquired by BBVA for $117 million, ramping up hiring

What started with “building a bank that doesn’t suck” has resulted in building a product offering that has gotten sucked up by a bank. Portland startup Simple has been acquired by global banking presence BBVA for a reported $117 million.

To achieve this, we will function as a separate business within the BBVA structure, operating in parallel with BBVA’s existing US banking operations. Furthermore, I’m remaining in my role as CEO and will be joined by the same team that built Simple over the past four years. The biggest change is that now we will have the support of a global banking group with $820 billion in assets that shares our passion for innovative technology and customer experience. We’ll have significant resources to grow and continue the pace of innovation that our customers deserve. This means we are accelerating our hiring—if you want to reinvent an industry alongside an incredible group of people.

While details on the acquisition are still breaking, it’s clear that BBVA has an appreciation for Simple and will be letting the organization continue to operate as a relatively independent entity. Albeit with access to BBVA’s resources.

“Simple’s customer experience is unmatched in the digital banking world,” said BBVA Chairman & CEO Francisco Gonzalez. “Simple will reinforce our global digital transformation while BBVA will provide the means to help Simple maximize its outstanding growth potential.”

Honestly, it seems like very much a “best of both worlds” situation, so far.

“By joining forces with BBVA, we will gain complete end-to-end ownership of the customer experience, from our mobile apps all the way through the core banking stack,” said Simple cofounder and CEO Josh Reich. “This will give us a tremendous degree of flexibility and control that will enable an entirely new class of innovation.”

For those of you unfamiliar with BBVA, it has a substantial history in banking. BBVA is a customer-centric global financial services group founded in 1857. The Group has a solid position in Spain, it is the largest financial institution in Mexico, and it has leading franchises in South America and the Sunbelt Region of the United States. Its diversified business is biased to high-growth markets and it relies on technology as a key sustainable competitive advantage.

Clearly, Simple is technology to increase that advantage.

Portland’s MergerTech, which has helped a number of Portland startups through the acquisition process, advised on the deal.

I wanted to get the news out. I’ll add some updates as news becomes available. I decided to write a retrospective post on the whole Portland and Simple story, instead.

For more information, see the BBVA press release or the Simple blog post.

Background that may help (or may not)

4 Responses to “Portland startup Simple acquired by BBVA for $117 million, ramping up hiring”

  1. Amber Case says:

    Congrats to Simple and team! Hope this leads to support for multiple cards that can spend from goals, then I could transfer everything to Simple!

    On the other hand, looking to see how the acquisition affects the speed of development. A great win for Portland tech, and an interesting story to follow! Super excited for Alex Payne and Bill DeRouchey, too!

  2. [...] see earlier coverage of Simple on GeekWire, and a post about the acquisition by Rick Turoczy on Portland’s Silicon Florist tech [...]

  3. [...] the news of Simple’s acquisition hit this morning, it immediately dawned on me that I have been so incredibly lucky to be [...]

  4. [...] made a big splash by moving personal-finance services onto customers’ phones. Rick Turoczy broke the story this morning on his blog Silicon Florist.The deal is the biggest “exit” for a Portland [...]


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