BBVA has acquired Finnish digital current account startup Holvi, furthering its investment into tech-led alternatives to traditional banking. In 2015, it agreed to take a strategic 29.5% stake in Atom, the yet-to-be-launched UK mobile-only bank, and acquired West Coast user experience firm Spring Studio. In 2014 the Spanish bank purchased big data and cloud-computing start-up Madiva Soluciones, and Portland, Oregon based neo-banking startup Simple.
Founded in Helsinki in 2011, Holvi offers a current account combined with business MasterCard for small business owners. The business, tipped as the hottest startup in Finland by Wired magazine, enables users to set up their own online store and provides aspirant entrepreneurs with a simple invoicing and money management tool. A licensed Payment Institution, which in the past has used Nordea Finland as its main banking partner, the company employs just eighteen full-time staff. The acquisition is the latest in a string of recent investments by BBVA, which has been hoovering up fintech startups across the globe as part of its digital transformation strategy.