Moven Gets Funding from SoftBank, Looks to Returns to Roots with Bank Acquisition

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Neobank Moven has secured an undisclosed amount from SoftBank and is looking to acquire a bank with the funding, according to an American Banker report.

Moven burst onto the fintech scene in 2012 — it was founded in 2011 and launched an alpha product in 2013 — as Brett King’s bank, or bank account. Originally called Movenbank, King and co. dropped the ‘bank’ from its name and, umm, moved on. The service was built to be entirely mobile, and bet big on NFC, delivering stickers when the mobile phone manufacturers failed to implement the technology in time. The reality was cards still rule the roost, so Moven delivered cards as well, and also offered context around transactions, alerts after purchases, and sophisticated PFM capabilities in the app, well ahead of the competition, even four years later. It was also perhaps the very first bank account to build an Alexa integration.

But customer acquisition in financial services is expensive, so Moven developed a partnership model abroad, scoring major wins with TD in Canada and Westpac down under. In the U.S., Moven is built on top of CBW Bank, a model in the sense that CEO Sureth Ramamurthi was an entrepreneur in search of a bank license. (Green Dot’s Steve Streit was another.)

Simple, the first U.S.-based neobank, was originally to be called Banksimple, but never acquired its own license, instead being acquired by BBVA for $117 million in 2014. This appeared to be Moven’s destiny as well, and rumors swirled in fintech circles of possible buyers and even of offers extended. But King held out and kept Moven independent, and perhaps soon can reclaim the ‘bank’ and the world will see — at long last — Movenbank. But no bank has yet been named.

Moven will open a Japanese joint venture with SoftBank following the funding, according to American Banker. SoftBank has been active lately, also buying a majority stake in messaging app Line’s mobile service, which is itself moving into cryptocurrency.

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Read more in American Banker, TechCrunch, and VentureBeat(This story has been updated to reflect that the funding amount from SoftBank is undisclosed.)