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01/26/2022

Walmart-backed fintech start-up acquires two firms — and new name

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Walmart is helping create a new financial services app.

A Walmart-backed start-up is looking to establish itself as a major player in the financial technology space.

The fintech start-up, which Walmart operates with Ribbit Capital, one of the venture capital firms behind Robinhood, has entered into agreements to acquire fintech platforms Even and One. The acquisitions, which are expected to close in the first half of 2022 pending approvals, mark the start-up's emergence from stealth mode. The combined company will be called One.

Through this acquisition, the start-up is looking to create a single financial services app that enables consumers to get paid, spend, save, borrow and invest their money for interest. According to Walmart, almost one-quarter of U.S. adults are unbanked or underbanked, and roughly 80% of financial technology users rely on multiple accounts to manage their finances.

The merger combines Even, a financial benefits platform that enables employees to access their earned wages on-demand, budget and save, and One, a direct-to-consumer fintech provider that partners with Coastal Community Bank to combine saving, spending and borrowing in one digital account.

Together, the businesses will be integrated into a single app that will be available under the name One. The combined business will provide users with an all-in-one financial services app to holistically manage their finances in one place. The company’s products and services will be made available directly to consumers and through employers and retailers, including access to Walmart’s 1.6 million U.S. associates and 100 million-plus weekly shoppers. Walmart plans to expand One post-close, including through potential mergers and acquisitions.

Omer Ismail will lead the combined business as CEO of One. David Baga, CEO of Even, and Brian Hamilton, co-founder of One, will remain in key leadership positions. Upon closing of the transactions, the combined business will have more than 200 employees and be capitalized with more than $250 million in cash on the balance sheet.

Walmart makes fintech moves
Walmart has been increasing its presence in the financial services sector during the past year. In addition to launching Hazel at the beginning of 2021, the company has teamed up with the payments platform and financial technology company PayNearMe to let customers make cash bill payments to utility companies and other billers at select Walmart stores.

The discount giant is also collaborating with InComm Payments to make the payment tech provider’s Vanilla Direct financial network available nationwide at more than 4,700 stores. 

“Walmart is constantly looking for new ways to deliver on our core mission of helping our customers save money and live better,” said John Furner, president and CEO, Walmart U.S., and board member of the combined business. “Customers have made it clear that they want more from us in the financial services arena. Creating a simple, personalized app that allows users to manage their money in one place is the natural next step toward fulfilling that. We couldn’t be more excited about what this will mean for Walmart customers, associates and consumers everywhere as we try to help empower millions to improve their financial lives.”

"Consumers are always seeking better services, and in financial services this means transparency, access and simplicity,” said Micky Malka, managing partner, Ribbit Capital and board member of the combined business. “The combination of these world-class teams and products will give One a unique opportunity to bring a new level of service and access to millions of Americans.”