Visa buys fintech startup Plaid for $5.3B

Visa Inc. today announced it has signed a deal to acquire financial technology startup Plaid Financial Inc. for $5.3 billion in an all-cash deal.

It’s one of largest tech acquisitions in recent times, beating PayPal Inc.’s acquisition of Honey Science Inc. for $4 billionin November.

Founded in 2013, Plaid offers a financial application programming interface that connects apps and services with financial services. The company provides the technology that links apps and services such as Transferwise Ltd., Venmo Inc., Robinhood Markets Inc., Betterment LLC and Chime with traditional financial service providers.

Although Plaid is certainly not a household name, one in four people with a U.S. bank account is said to have used Plaid without realizing it to connect their accounts among more than 2,500 digital finance products. Plaid is the engine that links them and it has been highly successful in doing so.

The acquisition is not only a recognition of Plaid’s success but also a huge win for the venture capital companies backing it, having invested $353.3 million before the deal was announced. Investors included American Express, Norwest Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkins, Spark Capital, Index Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, PSP Investments and Citi Ventures.

Visa sees the acquisition of Plaid as expanding its addressable market by opening new market opportunities as well as delivering enhanced payment capabilities and related services to fintech developers.

Al Kelly, chairman and chief executive officer of Visa, said in a statement that the acquisition will boost Visa’s growth. “Plaid is a leader in the fast-growing fintech world with best-in-class capabilities and talent,” he said. “The acquisition, combined with our many fintech efforts already underway, will position Visa to deliver even more value for developers, financial institutions and consumers.”

Plaid will continue to operate as a separate business unit under Visa’s ownership while also borrowing Visa’s brand, resources and international footprint.

“As we join forces with Visa, we are jointly committed to continuing and enhancing our product offerings, expanding to new geographies and doing everything we can to accelerate the success of the fintech ecosystem,” Plaid co-founder and CEO Zach Perret said in a blog post .

The acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions. It’s expected to close within the next three to six months.

Image: Plaid

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