BBVA sells Holvi business lender, invests $150m in VC fund
BBVA has sold its challenger brand Holvi in the same week it pumped $150 million into its VC Propel Venture Partners.
The Spanish bank bought Finland-based Holvi in 2016, expanding its business into Germany, Austria, and the UK. It pulled out of the latter last year due to uncertainties around Brexit.
Its customer base consists of the self-employed, sole traders, freelancers and small business owners.
It offers a business payment account powered with Mastercard, invoicing tools and bookkeeping capabilities.
The bank is selling its brand back to one of its co-founders, Tuomas Toivonen.
“This step marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for Holvi and brings us closer to our entrepreneurial roots and our customers,” he says.
“With the knowledge we have gained from BBVA’s support […] we are well positioned to continue our mission of simplifying the working lives of the self-employed.”
Holvi is the second neobank BBVA has dropped in recent times. The bank shut down its US-based Simple brand in January, six years after acquiring it for $117 million.
Simple’s closure followed the $11.6 billion acquisition of BBVA’s US business by PNC.
Despite these recent offloads, the Spanish bank has outfitted its Propel Venture Partners investment wing with $150 million in fresh capital.
BBVA says Propel now has “the flexible financial backing needed to continue building a world-class fintech venture fund.”
The first $50 million fund launches “in the next few weeks”. Funds in 2022 and 2023 will follow, open to outside investors.
“Propel gives BBVA a privileged window into the fintech ecosystem,” says BBVA executive chairman Carlos Torres Vila.
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