Walmart joins up with Ribbit Capital to start a fintech.
Walmart, the US’s biggest employer and its largest company by revenue last year, will work with venture capital firm Ribbit Capital, itself backed by sophisticated financial services firms, such as banks BBVA and Silicon Valley Bank, to start a fintech.
What the fintech will do is unclear, although the Financial Times notes “whatever the plan is, there is no doubt Walmart hopes to emulate the success of do-it-all Chinese super apps such as Alibaba,” but the process for creation is noteworthy.
Financial services, like healthcare, is ripe for disruption. Forced online, retailers have jumped to contactless payments and from there it is potentially a short step to using the 1,500 Walmart MoneyCenters for existing cash transfers to a broader suite of savings and investment products as well as blockchain, cryptocurrencies and factoring to disrupt the logistics and supply chain.
Unlike healthcare outsiders, however, Walmart has avoided creating a consortium to back a startup. Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase set up Haven Healthcare three years ago but folded the startup earlier this month.
Walmart is looking to Ribbit, whose deals under the legendary Meyer “Micky” Malka since 2012 have included Robinhood, Affirm, and Coinbase and most recently Relay Payments, an Atlanta-based payments startup.
These Ribbit portfolio companies stretch across almost all parts of the fintech landscape from cryptocurrencies to delayed payments to online trading.
With its limited partners of insiders and recent hires, such as Eva Alonso from investment bank Goldman Sachs’s growth equity division, therefore, Ribbit can translate its insights into venture building with Walmart.
Historically, Walmart might have hired talent for a project probably inspired or relying on management consultants.
Now, venture investors are the eminence grises behind turning bright ideas into action.
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