February 20th, 2014
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.