BBVA agrees to buy VC-backed Simple for $117 mln

Global financial services firm BBVA has agreed to acquire Simple for $117 million. Based in Portland, Oregon, Simple is a provider of digital banking services. Its backers included SV Angel, Anthemis Group, Neu Venture Capital, Lerer Ventures and First Round Capital.


MADRID, Feb. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — BBVA has agreed to acquire Simple (, a US-based company that has created a new standard in digital banking. The acquisition is part of BBVA’s strategy to lead the technology-driven change that is transforming the financial services industry. The transaction values Simple at $117 million.
“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.”
Simple, based in Portland, Oregon, was founded in 2009 and its commercial launch took place in July 2012. It now has more than 100,000 customers across the United States, a fivefold increase since the end of 2012. Simple offers users everything they need to spend smarter and save more. Customers get a Simple Visa® card, powerful iOS and Android apps, integrated savings tools, and real customer service.
Simple will continue to operate separately under the same brand, with the same philosophy and approach to customer experience. Joshua Reich, co-founder and CEO, and Shamir Karkal, co-founder and CFO, will continue to lead the 92 employees who work at Simple. BBVA will complete the purchase through US-based BBVA Compass Bancshares, Inc., which will in time help Simple develop new products and services. With the support of the BBVA Group, Simple will be able to expand beyond the US and enter new markets. The transaction values Simple at $117 million.
“Joining with BBVA gives Simple the resources and global footprint we need to see our vision writ large,” said Joshua Reich. “BBVA believes in our vision and the course we have set to transform the industry.”
The investment in Simple is yet another example of BBVA’s commitment to innovation amid the rapid technology-driven change that is transforming the financial services industry. BBVA is introducing new products and services through a variety of initiatives, developed both in-house and through its investments in leading startups aiming to reinvent the financial services industry.
BBVA, through its corporate venture arm BBVA Ventures, is actively investing in disruptive initiatives in financial services. Some of its current investments include SumUp, the Berlin-headquartered startup enabling mobile point of sale payments; Radius, a US-based company providing business insight into millions of small- and mid-size businesses; Freemonee, which analyzes its customers’ transactional data to create relevant offers from retailers; Ribbit Capital, a financial technology-focused venture capital fund; and the seed-capital fund and accelerator program 500 Startups. BBVA Ventures operates through BBVA’s representative office in San Francisco.
About BBVA
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. Corporate responsibility is at the core of its business model. BBVA fosters financial education and inclusion, and supports scientific research and culture. It operates with the highest integrity, a long-term vision and applies the best practices. The Group is present in the main sustainability indexes.
About Simple
Founded in 2009 and based in Portland, Oregon, Simple combines innovative technology, impeccable user experience, and expertise in behavioral economics to help its customers spend smarter and save more. Simple customers receive a Simple Visa® card that’s tied to an FDIC-insured account with no surprise fees, and powerful budgeting and savings tools built right into the account. Simple’s banking services are accessible via intuitive web, iPhone, and Android apps. The company has more than 100,000 customers, processed $1.7 billion in annual transactions last year, and experienced 330% customer growth


Take your pick!

  • Buyouts delivers exclusive news and analysis about private equity deals, fundraising, top-quartile managers and more. Get your FREE trial or subscribe now.
  • VC Journal provides exclusive news and analysis about venture capital deals, fundraising, top-quartile investors and more. Get your FREE trial or subscribe now.