Personal Capital CEO Speaks Up About the Company’s Acquisition

If you missed the news earlier this week, here’s a recap: Personal Capital agreed to be acquired by Empower Retirement, the second-largest retirement services provider in the United States, for up to $1 billion, composed of $825 million on closing and up to $175 million for planned growth.

According to Forbes, the San Francisco-based fintech is selling for the same price as its valuation in February 2019. The deal is expected to close in the second half of this year.

After a bit of time to digest everything, Personal Capital CEO Jay Shah looked at the decision and what it means for the eleven-year-old company. Shah has been at Personal Capital since the company’s launch in 2009 and will now serve as President of Personal Capital and will also sit on the Executive Team at Empower.

Shah explained that, though many companies have expressed interest over the years in acquiring Personal Capital, none of the opportunities felt right. However, because Empower shares many of Personal Capital’s same “visions and values.”

He went on to describe how, in today’s uncertain world, the buy-out “will ensure extra strength and resources to grow Personal Capital, and bring [clients] more of the great technology and service [they’ve] come to expect. He added that combining the two companies will help Personal Capital support and further develop its features and service offerings.

As for what’s next, Shah said that Personal Capital will continue to operate as it always has. And because the company’s leadership team has committed to stay on for the long-term, the company’s culture will stay in-tact. “I recognize that this announcement feels like a major change, but I also want to assure you that your day-to-day experience with Personal Capital will remain the same,” he added.


Photo by Oleg Laptev on Unsplash

Mastercard to Acquire Finicity in $825 Million Deal

For a year that began with Visa’s headline-making acquisition of Plaid, it seems almost poetic that near 2020’s midway mark, Mastercard would make a major fintech bid of its own.

The company has agreed to acquire Finicity, a real-time financial data and analytics provider and long-time Finovate alum, in a deal valued at nearly $1 billion. This figure represents a combination of the $825 million purchase price of the Salt Lake City, Utah fintech, as well as a potential earn-out for Finicity’s existing shareholders – subject to the company meeting certain performance targets.

“Since our founding, Nick Thomas and I have focused on developing industry-leading technology and building an organization that empowers consumers and organizations to better understand, manage, and use their financial data to improve their financial lives,” Finicity co-founder and CEO Steve Smith said. “Enabling people to access and control their data, while ensuring best practices to protect that data, will continue to drive tremendous innovation that increases financial literacy, inclusion, and health. This partnership with Mastercard helps us accelerate this mission globally.”

Mastercard President Michael Miebach cited open banking as one of the reasons for the company’s interest in Finicity. Referring to open banking as both a “growing global trend” and a “strategically important space,” Miebach praised Finicity’s ability to leverage open banking APIs to enable financial data and insights to streamline lending and mortgage processes, account-based payment initiation, and other PFM services. He also credited the company for its focus on the data rights of the consumer.

“(Finicity) shares our commitment to consumer-centric data practices, ensuring consumers have a say in how and where their information should be used,” Miebach said.

Founded in 2000, Finicity provides financial data APIs, credit decisioning tools, and financial wellness solutions that help financial institutions and fintechs better serve their customers. The company’s technology helps power solutions like Experian Boost and Rocket Mortgage from Quicken Loans. Named a Best Place to Work in Fintech by American Banker for the last three consecutive years, Finicity began 2020 partnering with SaaS-based marketing automation, CRM, and POS solution provider for banks and mortgage companies, Volly.

Credit Sesame Acquires Challenger Bank

Credit Sesame made the move to acquire STACK, a Canada-based challenger bank, today. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The announcement comes three months after Credit Sesame unveiled Sesame Cash, a digital bank account powered by STACK. After a successful pilot in March, Credit Sesame began a widespread rollout of Sesame Cash in mid-May. Since then, the company has onboarded more than 200,000 users to the new service. Now, as Credit Sesame reports, “the demand continues to surge with thousands of new accounts per day…”

Today’s acquisition will also help Credit Sesame expand geographically. The company’s financial management services will be available within STACK’s platform. The move into Canada marks Credit Sesame’s first step toward international expansion.

“Together with STACK, we are combining the power of smart banking and AI-driven credit management to create a new kind of personal finance,” said Credit Sesame CEO and Founder Adrian Nazari. “How much cash you have, and how and when you use your cash, have a big impact on your credit. Adding cash management to our credit platform was a natural next step to better help consumers manage their overall financial health, and it creates a unique benefit for our consumers and financial partners.”

The Sesame Cash account is aimed at underserved users and individuals living paycheck-to-paycheck. Some of the features include free daily credit score refreshes, cash rewards for improving credit, early payday, and real-time transaction notifications. The account comes with a Mastercard debit card that offers Mastercard Zero Liability protection, direct deposit, the ability to freeze or unfreeze the debit card in-app, and more.

Credit Sesame, which most recently demoed at FinovateSpring 2015, plans to launch more features, including a smart billpay service, transaction roundups to save or pay down debt, rewards programs, and credit-building opportunities. The company plans to reveal these offerings “over the next few months.”

Former STACK CEO Miro Pavletic is now Credit Sesame’s General Manager of Canadian and International Business. STACK’s former COO Nicolas Dinh and former CPO Ranjit Sarai have transitioned to serve within Credit Sesame’s banking services. STACK’s Canada-based employees will work out of Toronto, Canada-based STACK offices.


Photo by Pascal Swier on Unsplash

Coinbase to Buy Tagomi to Appeal to Sophisticated Investors

Photo by Mohamed Masaau on Unsplash

The fintech landscape is changing and digital currency wallet and crypto exchange platform Coinbase is ready to change right along with it. This is evident in the San Francisco-based company’s move today to acquire Tagomi, a cryptocurrency brokerage platform. Terms of the deal are undisclosed.

Coinbase anticipates that the new addition will help it appeal to advanced traders and “sophisticated” crypto investors, two groups that have shown increased interest in Coinbase as of late. The company has catered to these investors by launching tiered offerings, Coinbase Pro, which offers advanced features such as margin trading and tools to help segregate trading strategies; and Coinbase Prime, which is a professional trading platform for institutional clients.

“We’ve seen a swell in demand from institutional investors over the past year, driving tremendous growth in our Coinbase Custody offering and increased volumes on our trading platforms,” the company said in a blog post. “The addition of Tagomi will round out our product suite for the fast-growing institutional trading market. It will allow us to offer custody, professional trading features, and prime brokerage services on one platform, giving sophisticated investors the seamless, powerful trading experience they have come to expect in equities and FX markets.”

Chicago-based Tagomi was launched just a year-and-a-half ago and has since raised $28 million. The company caters to advanced traders, hedge funds, and family offices, including well-known names such as Paradigm, Pantera, Bitwise, and Multicoin.

The acquisition, which is subject to regulatory approvals, is scheduled to close later this year.

Alums Assemble! A Look at Finovate Merger and Acquisition Activity in H1 2020

Visa’s acquisition of Plaid for $5.3 billion at the beginning of the year set a high mark for mergers and acquisitions among Finovate alums in 2020. How have subsequent deals among our alums in the fintech space measured up?

Unfortunately, many M&A deals keep their financials well under wraps, which makes comparisons difficult. But we can take a look at some of the brighter lights in the merger and acquisition sky, and gain some sense of just how big some of these fintech stars truly are.

Looking at the first few months of the year, we have no figures for the four alums that were acquired in the first half of 2020. Of the acquirers, however, two deals stick out, rivaling the Visa/Plaid purchase in January: Intuit’s $7.1 billion buy of Credit Karma, and Worldline’s decision to put down $8.6 billion for Ingenico.

Below is our quick rundown of some of the biggest M&A action from our Finovate alums so far in 2020.

The Acquired

  • Emailage acquired by LexisNexis Risk Solutions. May 7.
  • Arxan merged with CollabNet VersionOne and XebiaLabs to form new company, Digital.ai. April 17.
  • IdentityMind Global acquired by Acuant. April 1.

The Acquirers

  • SoFi acquired Galileo in $1.2 billion deal. April 7.
  • Tink acquired Eurobits Technologies. March 29.
  • Fiserv acquired Bypass Mobile. March 18.
  • DocuSign acquired Seal Software in $188 million deal. March 1.
  • Intuit acquired Credit Karma in $7.1 billion deal. February 28.
  • Envestnet | Yodlee acquired FinBit.io. February 25.
  • Lending Club acquired Radius Bank. February 19.
  • Worldline acquired Ingenico for $8.6 billion. February 3.

If you are a Finovate alum that was involved in a merger or acquisition in the first half of 2020, and do not see your company listed, please drop us a note at research@finovate.com. We would love to share the good news! M&A activity prior to becoming an alum not included.

Emailage Acquired by LexisNexis Risk Solutions

Fraud prevention solutions provider Emailage recently announced it has been acquired. LexisNexis Risk Solutions, owned by parent company RELX, closed the deal for $480 million.

Emailage was founded in 2012 by Rajesh Pandey and Rei Carvalho. The company offers an email risk score that uses email address metadata to help businesses assess transactional risk and validate digital identities. Access to this data enables companies to expedite approvals, prevent chargebacks, and automate workflows. Emailage also offers a Digital Identity score that layers in additional data to offer businesses a fuller picture of the user’s online reputation.

LexisNexis Risk Solutions purchased Emailage to integrate the company’s email assessment capabilities into its Digital Identity Network offerings. The integration should be somewhat smooth since the two had an existing commercial partnership prior to the acquisition.

“This acquisition is a natural fit as LexisNexis Risk Solutions and Emailage are both committed to continuously evolving our solutions to combat fraud,” said LexisNexis Risk Solutions Business Services CEO Rick Trainor. “This acquisition will enhance and expand our email data intelligence to provide our customers a more comprehensive view of risk with minimal friction for their customers.”

This isn’t the first fintech RELX has snapped up to boost its fraud and risk management services. The firm has been making a steady stream of purchases in the sector, including ID Analytics, ThreatMetrix, Accuity, and ChoicePoint. RELX has also formed numerous partnerships in the space, including with BioCatch and Blockbid.

LexisNexis Risk Solutions initiated its purchase of Emailage before COVID-19 had overtaken the globe. However, the increased interest in security players is something we can expect to see more of as the virus steers us toward the low-touch economy and drives traditionally brick-and-mortar services into the digital realm.

Empyr Acquired by Augeo, Becomes Figg

Commerce monetization company Empyr announced this week it has been acquired by its long-time partner Augeo, a loyalty and engagement firm. Financial terms of the deal were undisclosed.

Under the agreement, Empyr will rebrand as Figg, combining Augeo’s card-linking technology with Empyr’s publisher experience. Figg will benefit from Augeo’s existing 60 million users and $300 billion in transaction volume for loyalty offers.

Empyr launched in 2011 and has since raised $48.2 million in funding. The company’s API relies on data partnerships with VISA, Mastercard, and American Express to power card-linked loyalty rewards for offline businesses.

“While the timing might seem counter-intuitive, we believe there is an urgent need to bring advanced technology and more encompassing advertiser offer content to consumers seeking greater value,” said Augeo CEO David Kristal. “Some retail sectors like grocery, household essentials and health-related products are near capacity, while the travel industry, hospitality, restaurants and many local service businesses are battling to stay afloat. As things begin to improve, Figg will be uniquely positioned to connect consumers with advertisers to help accelerate commerce in the U.S. market.”

Valor Siren Ventures provided an undisclosed amount of financial support. “This is a compelling combination, to have VSV lead with new capital invigorating the operational and technology investments made by Augeo and Empyr in recent years,” added Bill Ruh, former Chairman of Empyr.

Kristal, who is also Executive Chairman of Figg, said the company chose the name Figg because it reflects its mission. “Figs define persistence and reflect the enduring quality that we felt spoke to our adaptability, sustenance and resolve,” he said.

The name also demonstrates the company’s adaptability, which is especially relevant in a time of pandemic. “Augeo was first launched during challenging times, and that experience has fortified our ability to press through adversity and grow. Today, we are looking through this current challenging time toward the “next normal.” We have a unique strategic focus around cash preservation coupled with ingenuity, adaptability and where possible, growth,” added Kristal.

Arxan Joins Two Firms to Form New Company

Application security company Arxan Technologies announced yesterday that it has joined forces with two other industry firms, CollabNet VersionOne and XebiaLabs, to form a new entity, Digital.ai. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The three businesses will combine their expertise– business agility, software delivery, and application security– into a single platform. Overall, Digital.ai seeks to aid companies pursuing digital transformation to deliver digital experiences that customers trust.

“Digital.ai enables enterprises to focus on business outcomes instead of outputs, unifying value creation, delivery, and protection practices to drive efficiencies and create engaging, secure digital experiences that customers value and trust,” said Digital.ai CEO Ashok Reddy. “Now more than ever, it is critical that organizations leverage the power of business agility to optimize processes and make decisions rooted in customer centricity. Doing so will result in higher quality, more secure products that are delivered faster and drive stronger customer and employee engagement.”

Arxan’s approach to security is to protect apps “from the inside out.” The company protects the app’s binary code, JavaScript, and cryptographic keys to guard common entry points from fraudster attacks.

Digital.ai serves companies across multiple sectors including automotive, finance, digital media, gaming, insurance, medical devices, and more. The company’s customers include ABN AMRO Bank, KeyBank, KLM/Air France, Siemens, and Toyota.

Today’s news comes almost 20 years after Arxan’s launch. The San Francisco-based company was founded in 2001 by Hoi Chang and Mikhail Atallah. Since then, Joe Sander has taken the role as CEO.

SoFi Inks Agreement to Acquire Galileo Financial Technologies

Photo by James Frid from Pexels

In a cash and stock deal valued at $1.2 billion, online lender and personal finance innovator SoFi has agreed to acquire financial services API and payments platform, Galileo Financial Technologies.

Galileo enables companies to build innovative consumer and B2B fintech services via its suite of open APIs. The company’s technology powers a variety of functions including:

  • account set-up
  • funding
  • direct deposit
  • ACH transfer
  • IVR
  • early paycheck deposit
  • billpay
  • transaction notifications
  • check balance
  • point of sale authorizations

Galileo processed $53+ billion in annualized payment volume in March of this year, more than doubling its September 2019 tally of $26 billion. Notably, SoFi and Galileo are already quite familiar with each other; SoFi’s Sofi Money solution is currently integrated with Galileo’s payments platform and leverages a number of the platform’s account and events functionalities.

Together, the two companies will further combine their efforts to create value for customers of both firms, who will benefit from a feature set that enables them to participate in the transition from “physical-only to a multi-channel digital and physical platform.”

“SoFi has established itself as a leader in the fintech sector, providing our more than one million members a full array of financial products to help them get their money right,” SoFi CEO Anthony Noto said. He credited SoFi’s members for motivating the company to continue innovating, and for encouraging “bigger, bolder, and more expansive” thinking. “Together with Galileo, we will partner to build on our companies’ strengths to drive even greater financial technology innovation, making those products and services available to both current and future partners.”

Galileo will operate as an independent subsidiary of SoFi, post-acquisition, with Galileo CEO Clay Wilkes remaining on board to continue leading the company. Praising SoFi’s suite of solutions for borrowing, saving, spending, and investing, Wilkes said, “these are products that many of our leading fintech clients are asking for. Distributing products through our enterprise class API is the vision behind this combination. I think it’s very powerful.”

SoFi made its Finovate debut in 2017, partnering with Quovo to present How Quovo and SoFi Perfected Bank Authentication at our developers conference, FinDEVr Silicon Valley. The company, based in San Francisco, California and founded in 2011, has raised $2.5 billion in funding, earning a valuation of $4.3 billion as of May of last year.

Payroll Company Paylocity Acquires Video Platform Provider

HR and payroll software solutions provider Paylocity made an acquisition today that will bring the company into the COVID-19 era. The Chicago, Illinois-based company announced it has purchased video platform provider VidGrid for an undisclosed amount.

Paylocity made the purchase to reinforce its services with VidGrid’s peer-to-peer learning courses. The company expects that adding workplace video communication tools will boost employee collaboration, engagement, and retention.

“We believe video will play a critical role in transforming workplace communication,” said Paylocity CEO Steve Beauchamp.

Today’s acquisition stems from Paylocity’s previous partnership with VidGrid that powered Paylocity’s learning management system (LMS), a tool that enables clients to learn from interactive videos featuring subject matter experts. “As part of our product expansion, we introduced our Learning Management System and worked with VidGrid to provide learning opportunities that the modern workforce expects,” Beauchamp said. “VidGrid’s approach aligns with our culture of caring deeply for our clients and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome their talented and innovative team to Paylocity.”

The acquisition– Paylocity’s first– comes at a time when traditionally in-person consultations and services have been pushed to online channels in order to comply with social distancing requirements. Secure video communications channels have proven to be invaluable during the COVID-19 era. Many experts are predicting consumers’ habits to pursue services online instead of in-person to continue even after it is once again deemed safe to gather in person.

Founded in 1997, Paylocity has more than 3,300 employees, more than 60% of whom work remotely (this was, of course, before everyone was required to do so). The company has more than 20,000 clients and 2,200 partners. Paylocity is publicly traded on NASDAQ under the ticker PCTY with a market capitalization of $4.71 billion.

IdentityMind Global Acquired by Acuant

Digital identity company IdentityMind Global has agreed to be acquired by identity verification company Acuant five months after the two initially formed a partnership. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The deal offers Acuant access to IdentityMind’s digital identity product, a SaaS platform that builds, maintains, and analyzes digital identities and helps companies perform risk-based authentication, regulatory identification, and detect and prevent synthetic and stolen identities.

While digital identity was a hot topic at the beginning of the year, it is even more so now that much of consumer interaction is being pushed from in-person to online channels.

“Never before has identity been so critical to building and maintaining a stable and productive economy,” said Acuant CEO Yossi Zekri. “Businesses must rely on trusted identities to successfully transact, fight fraud and stay compliant. Our Trusted Identity Platform, now with IdentityMind’s orchestration layer, creates a new standard in identity verification.”

Acuant has offered identity verification solutions for 20 years. Since then, the California-based company has completed more than one billion trusted transactions in over 196 countries. Today’s deal is Acuant’s second acquisition after purchasing AssureTec Technologies in 2016.

IdentityMind was founded in 2013 and has raised $21.5 million across three rounds of funding. The company most recently demoed at FinovateSpring 2018, showcasing its GDPR compliant KYC plug-in.

CRIF to Acquire Strands

Credit management solutions provider CRIF has agreed to acquire PFM company Strands for an undisclosed amount. The deal will be finalized “in the coming weeks.”

The union will bring Strands’ personal financial management and business financial management solutions to CRIF’s client base that includes 6,300 banks, 55,000 businesses, and 310,000 consumers across 50 countries.

Strands’ technology will complement CRIF’s customer acquisition, portfolio management, and credit collection tools that help forecast market developments, improve business performance, reduce credit risks, and prevent fraud.

According to CRIF chairman Carlo Gherardi, the acquisition will “allow CRIF to create a worldwide digital solutions provider for open banking.” He added, “Through this deal, CRIF will combine its market knowledge and expertise with an innovative and well-positioned fintech player, creating synergies that will help our global clients to keep on growing and innovating through their digital transformation journey.”

For its part, Strands brings to the table 700 bank clients serving 100 million end customers. Strands CEO Erik Brieva said that the deal will help fuel Strands’ mission “to enable banks to anticipate customer needs and proactively suggest next-best-actions.”

Strands was founded in 2004 and has since raised more than $55 million in two rounds of funding. The company has offices in Barcelona, Spain; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and at its headquarters location in Miami, Florida. Strands’ most recent appearance on the Finovate stage was last year, where it demonstrated a cash flow solution for small businesses alongside Mastercard.

With more than 5,000 employees, CRIF is headquartered in Italy and was founded in 1988. Today’s deal is the company’s seventh acquisition, following its purchase of Vision-Net in 2018. CRIF demonstrated its Credit Framework solution at FinovateEurope 2014.