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Walmart’s Hazel Announces Merger With Aims of Improving Consumer Financial Wellness

Hazel, the independent fintech launched in partnership with Walmart and investment firm Ribbit Capital, has entered into definitive agreements to acquire fintech platforms Even and ONE, marking the startup’s emergence from stealth mode.

The transactions, which are expected to close in the first half of 2022 pending approvals, will equip the combined business with immediate momentum in its strategy to deliver a single financial services app that empowers consumers to get paid, spend, save, borrow and grow their money.

Millions of Americans today can’t access credit, build savings or wealth and are left to manage their financial lives through multiple disconnected apps. Almost a quarter of US adults are unbanked or underbanked, and roughly 80 per cent of fintech users rely on multiple accounts to manage their finances.

The combined business, which will operate under the brand name ONE, will provide users with an all-in-one financial services app to manage their finances in one place. The company’s products and services will be made available directly to consumers and through employers and merchants, including access to Walmart’s 1.6 million US associates and 100 million-plus weekly shoppers.

Omer Ismail will lead the combined business as CEO of ONE. David Baga, CEO of Even, and Brian Hamilton, co-founder of ONE, will remain in key leadership positions. Upon closing of the transactions, the combined business will have more than 200 employees and be capitalised with more than $250million in cash on the balance sheet to fund future growth.

Omer Ismail, CEO of ONE
Omer Ismail

“Consumers everywhere are being left behind by the world of financial services,” said Ismail, ONE’s incoming CEO. “Our vision is clear: build on Even and ONE’s success to offer a product that offers consumers the best way to spend, the best way to access their wages and helps millions save and grow their money. I’m looking forward to partnering with two stellar leaders in Brian and David to improve the financial lives of tens of millions of consumers.”

The moves bring together two established platforms in Even, a financial benefits platform that enables employees to access their earned wages on-demand, budget and save, and ONE, a direct-to-consumer fintech that partners with Coastal Community Bank to combine saving, spending and borrowing in one digital account. Together, the businesses will be integrated into a single app that will be available to consumers everywhere as ONE, along with:

  • A growing team: This combination brings together industry-leading teams from Even and ONE, with plans to expand ONE post-close by hiring best-in-class talent, including through potential M&A.
  • The scale of Walmart: Over time, the ONE app will be integrated inside Walmart’s physical and digital channels, offering solutions to its 1.6 million U.S. associates and 100 million-plus weekly shoppers.
  • Broad availability and additional partnerships: As a standalone company and app, ONE will be available directly to consumers across the US, and through partnerships with other leading employers and merchants.

“Walmart is constantly looking for new ways to deliver on our core mission of helping our customers save money and live better,” said John Furner, president and CEO, Walmart US and board member of the combined business. “Customers have made it clear that they want more from us in the financial services arena. Creating a simple, personalised app that allows users to manage their money in one place is the natural next step toward fulfilling that. We couldn’t be more excited about what this will mean for Walmart customers, associates and consumers everywhere as we try to help empower millions to improve their financial lives.”

“Consumers are always seeking better services, and in financial services, this means transparency, access and simplicity,” said Micky Malka, managing partner, Ribbit Capital and board member of the combined business. “The combination of these world-class teams and products will give ONE a unique opportunity to bring a new level of service and access to millions of Americans.”

Author

  • Tyler is a fintech journalist with specific interests in online banking and emerging AI technologies. He began his career writing with a plethora of national and international publications.

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