Startup of the Month: Simple – A better bank

This article is part of our monthly “Startup of the Month” series. You can read more articles from that series here.

Simple Banking Startup Acquisition Homepage

The most talked about acquisition this year has been the nabbing of Whatsapp by Facebook, and because of that, a lot of other deals have been overshadowed.

One of those overshadowed acquisitions, was BBVA’s acquisition of a banking startup calledSimple“, for over $116 million. That’s certainly an impressive sum, but what really impressed me about Simple, was how true to their name they were.

Simple’s work in creating a friendlier, more high-tech financial institution (and their success at that) is what made them March’s startup of the month.

What is Simple?

Simply put (pun-intended), Simple is a bank, engineered to improve upon elements that customers are usually most frustrated with in traditional banks. For example:

  • Simple has all but outlawed fees – even the dreaded overdraft fee
  • Despite being incredibly high-tech, Simple has built a fantastic, US-based support team to help their customers
  • Simple has built online systems to make banking easier, and more comfortable. They’ve used psychological research to build a banking environment that’s less conducive to stress, and they’ve designed systems to help you manage your money, and plan for the future, with ease

Why is Simple a startup of the month?

First of all, they are one of the most successful banking startups in recent memory. Banking is so filled with regulation that it’s nearly impossible to start a successful bank independently. Simple did just that, and they did it so well, that within five years, they sold their company for over $100 million. A few immigrants in Brooklyn with a crazy idea, turned that idea into a highly successful reality.

Secondly, they’re setting a trend for more technologically advanced, and customer-friendly banks. Their no-fee model, and their focus on user experience is new to banking, and if it catches on, will be extremely positive for just about everyone that uses a bank.

Also, unlike other financial upstarts like Bitcoin, Simple is a natural extension of traditional society, rather than something entirely new. It’s an improved iteration of a bank – a far better system, but not something too difficult to grasp. It truly is “simple”, but excellent.

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This article is part of our monthly “Startup of the Month” series. You can read more articles from that series here.

Question of the Month:  What industry do you hate, and how  could technology improve it?

My answer: The Department of Motor Vehicles – Put almost all of it online. Your answer: Leave a comment, and share your thoughts.

Michael Sitver

Michael Sitver is a technology insider who has been blogging about technology since 2011. Along the way, he's interviewed founders of innovative startups, and executives from fortune 500 companies, and he's tried dozens or hundreds of gadgets. Michael has also contributed to works featured in Newsday, The San Francisco Chronicle, and the associated press. Michael also occasionally consults, and writes for Seeking Alpha and Yahoo News.

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