Quartz was able to obtain an internal document outlining the recently acquired (for $117 million) subsidiary of BBVA current “key” metrics.
The outlook described Simple’s struggle to gain active users
The draft Simple document refers to 33,387 active customers in April, up 4.5% from March. But it notes that “customer acquisition is slower than expected” and “deposits per customer are growing slower than expected.”
In a response, Simple CEO’s Joshua Reich didn’t necessarily address the issue. But he did clarify the issue:
Like most businesses, we’re looking for active customers. Banks have traditionally defined ‘active’ as any customer who’s made at least one financial transaction within a month. This definition doesn’t work for us. We’ve found that our customers benefit from Simple most when they use it as their primary bank account, marrying their spending and saving with our real-time transaction data and Goals. Because of this, we set a higher bar to measure activity.
Simple’s active definition takes into account both swipe frequency and deposits. Our goal is to build a banking experience that our customers love. Our active customers are already swiping their Simple Visa® Cards multiple times a day, while the average bank customer swipes a few times per week.
When BBVA bought Simple, it said it was doing so for its customers — obviously a point of contention. Still, for the Spanish banking company, Simple isn’t only a source of (relatively small) revenue.
It’s also, most likely, a petri dish of sorts; A sandbox of new features for a tech savvy audience.
Something the Spanish-banking company is already trying to do with its NBA banking account, and its corporate venture capital arm.
@AmerBanker on BBVA Ventures (January, 2013):
Financial services companies with a keen eye for innovation are making venture capital investments.
They’re funding and incubating early-stage, high-risk technology companies. They’re seeding their investments in Silicon Valley, Silicon Alley in New York City,Silicon Prairie in the Midwest and wherever else such companies are creating financial technology.
Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria recently said it would invest $100 million through its newly created BBVA Ventures arm.