Simple, the fast-growing personal banking startup that promises to make managing your finances just that, was just purchased by Spain's second-largest bank, Banca Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA), for $117 million cash. Under the terms of the deal, Simple will continue to operate independently here in the U.S.
If you are unfamiliar with Simple, the startup uses a clean selection of apps to ease the headaches that often come with traditional banking. Its core value, reflectively, is: "Don't suck." Simple isn't actually a bank, though. Funds are held by its FDIC-insured partner, Bank Corp (where existing customer accounts will remain—for now), while Simple provides the added layer of technology designed around user convenience.
When you sign up, for example, you get a Simple-branded Visa debit card. You can make deposits by taking pictures of checks, withdraw from 55,000 free ATMs, and send money to friends electronically, just like Venmo. Your purchase history is easily searchable, and it will even spit out savings and budget charts. There are no overdraft or maintenance fees, either.
And people really seem to like it. In the past year, the company grew to more than 100,000 users, expanding by 330% and handling more than $1.7 billion in transactions. In a blog post, founder and CEO Joshua Reich writes, "by joining forces with BBVA, we will be able to jointly gain complete end-to-end ownership of the customer experience, from our mobile apps all the way through the core banking stack. This will give us a phenomenal degree of flexibility and control that will enable entirely new innovations."