Mobile Commerce

BBVA Invests $67.8M Into Mobile-Only Bank

BBVA is betting big on the U.K.’s first mobile-only bank.

The global financial services company announced yesterday (Nov. 24) that it is investing roughly $67.8 million (£45 million) in Atom — which is the U.K.’s first mobile-only bank. This would give BBVA a 29.5 percent stake in the bank that’s launching in early 2016.

Atom has made headway in the U.K. market after it received a license by the PRA last year. The goal of the bank is to target the mobile-savvy customer base that turns solely to mobile for their banking needs. It’s also aiming to provide an alternative to traditional banking.

“BBVA believes the digital market in the U.K. offers excellent growth opportunities and that digital banks that put the customer first are the future,” said Francisco Gonzalez, BBVA’s CEO. “BBVA’s investment in Atom backs those beliefs in one move.”

With BBVA’s investment, Atom will be able to scale its business. BBVA will have two spots on Atom’s board and can be involved in future funding rounds as a result of its initial involvement. Atom will also benefit from BBVA’s digital network and support.

“Atom is delighted to partner with BBVA. We have long admired their vision and leadership, and like us, BBVA clearly believe in the power of technology to transform customers’ lives for the better,” said Mark Mullen, Atom’s CEO. “We share BBVA’s commitment to place the interests of customers at the heart of everything they do.”

Since Atom was founded, it has raise over $203.4 million (£135 million). This investment from BBVA is part of scaling its own digital reach, which aligns with its other major investments.

“This is a wonderful endorsement from investors to the compelling business case that the team has put together, and is a powerful signal to the regulators and most importantly for U.K. consumers. Now with BBVA as our strategic partner we really do feel that the sky is the limit for Atom,” said Anthony Thomson, Atom’s Chairman.

This includes acquiring the user experience firm Spring Studio earlier this year. In 2014 it bought the big data and cloud-computing startup Madiva Soluciones and Simple, a company that is designed to change the way consumers bank and think about money. Through its $100 million U.S.-based BBVA Ventures fund, BBVA has also taken large stakes in companies like Prosper, an alternative lending company, wealth management tool Personal Capital and bitcoin wallet Coinbase.

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