Walmart, Ribbit-Backed Hazel to Acquire One Finance and Even
Just over one year ago, it was announced that Walmart and venture capital firm Ribbit would be partnering to launch an independent FinTech, with the company later being named Hazel. Today, it was announced that Hazel would be acquiring two companies: Even and One Finance.
Once the transactions are completed — which is expected to happen in the second half of this year — the company will be known as ONE and plans to “deliver a single financial services app that empowers consumers to get paid, spend, save, borrow and grow their money.” Hazel CEO Omer Ismail will serve as CEO of ONE while Even CEO David Baga and One Finance co-founder Brian Hamilton will stay on in key leadership positions. According to the press release, the combined company will employ more than 200 people and be equipped with more than $250 million in cash on its the balance sheet. Moreover, the ONE app will eventually be integrated into Walmart’s physical and digital channels.
Commenting on the need for and possibilities of ONE, Ismail said in a statement, “Consumers everywhere are being left behind by the world of financial services. Our vision is clear: build on Even and ONE’s success to offer a product that offers consumers the best way to spend, the best way to access their wages and helps millions save and grow their money.” He continued, “I’m looking forward to partnering with two stellar leaders in Brian and David to improve the financial lives of tens of millions of consumers.”
Meanwhile, Walmart U.S. president and CEO (and board member of ONE) said, “Walmart is constantly looking for new ways to deliver on our core mission of helping our customers save money and live better. 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.”
Incidentally, Dyer News columnist Kyle Burbank recently named One Finance one of the top FinTech apps to watch in 2022, citing (among other things) the platform’s unique Pockets feature. Not only can Pockets be used to budget — with One allowing customers to select which Pocket they’d like to link their debit card to in real time — but also offer savings incentives with APYs of up to 3%. Additionally, the app’s Credit Builder pocket can help users establish positive payment history without the risk of putting them in debt.
Today’s announcement is huge news not only for Even and One Finance but for the FinTech sector. While the announcement that Walmart and Ribbit would be launching a startup raised some eyebrows, it seems as though the company wisely looked to some already impressive companies to jump start the project. Needless to say, it will be fascinating to see how ONE expands as it reaches both Walmart associates and shoppers in the coming months.