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Banking giant Truist acquires fintech startup Long Game in effort to reach younger demographic –

Confidence – one of the nation’s largest financial institutions – has taken over Long gameof 12-year fintech startups with more than $ 20 million in business capital, executives told TechCrunch privately.

As of June 2021, Charlotte, the NC-based Trust was the 10th largest bank, with $ 509 billion in assets. It was formed in 2019 as a merger between BB&T and SunTrust banks.

Founded in 2015, Long Game has developed a gamified mobile gaming platform that aims to help people “save, learn and interact” with their finances. In particular, the San Francisco-based startup wants to drive bank customer engagement through the accumulation of associated rewards and regular games to promote smart financial practices.

Neither company disclosed what Truist paid for Long Game, or company revenue, saying it was just “a year and a half”

Led by the founder and CEO Lindsay Holden, Long Game has raised more than $ 20 million in investments from investors such as Vestigo Ventures, Franklin Templeton, Thrive Capital, and the Partnership Fund. TechCrunch covered the startup $ 6.6 million increased in the year 2017.

“More than half of Americans have less than $ 500 in savings, so for many people, if something unexpected happens, it could really hurt their financial lives,” Holden told TechCrunch. “We wanted to tackle the problem differently. We thought a lot about ethical economics and how people are motivated, and one of the things we encountered was socio-economics called rewards. a treasurer. ”

Storing prizes attached, she said, is the idea of ​​someone investing in a savings car to get a chance to make money.

“It really takes that lottery to be active, where people are trying to win something big by putting something in it,” Holden added, “instead of buying a ticket and throwing away cash, You put it in a savings account. “

Unsurprisingly, Long Game has been heavily targeted by GenZers for over a thousand years, Holden said, noting that Zynga’s former employees are employees.

“It’s a real game, as we are really using game activity to drive financial knowledge. Long Game uses the best methods in the gaming industry to interact with users,” she said. “There is nonsense and consumers are getting rewards for education.”

The most important marketing channels so far have been social media marketing and the use of game advertising networks.

Confidence, the opportunity to reach a loved one – and hard to reach – the young statistician is attracted.

Vanessa Vreeland, head of corporate development at Trust Ventures – the banking division of the bank, told TechCrunch that although buying Long Game was not the first fintech purchase of the bank, it was probably “a major priority.”

“This was just a different feeling,” she said. “It did not come with a balance sheet. It was the first acquisition of fintech without a balance sheet. Trust / SunTrust already acquired an online lender LightStream and Service Financesoftware vendor for sale.

As part of this latest acquisition, Long Game’s engineers, designers and executives will join the Trust’s creative team.

“We see ourselves as a great start … and while we were looking to expand our retail banking product, we were looking for ways to reach not only customers, but to further strengthen our relationship with them,” Vreeland said. “… We thought‘ what is the best way we can really interact with our customers and attract new customers from the younger generation to trust them more than pay way Really interesting to save and get involved in private finances? Long game experience. ”

The bank plans to “restart” the enhanced app type “to reach more than 15 million households,” she added.

Trust has offices in San Francisco today, where it serves its property clients as well as its commercial and investment bank clients,

“But we have not yet focused on building technology or creative teams on the West Coast,” Vreeland told TechCrunch. “We are excited to have a significant number of people in our San Francisco office, and we will continue to add to Lindsay and her design team, production and design quality as we continue to build the confidence to meet the technology needs of our customers.”

The agent came to find out about the Long Game through several different channels, according to Vreeland. For one, Long Game participated in the FIS Fintech acceleration program. She also learned about the company through private networks.

For her part, Holden said she was attracted to Trust’s “strong focus” on the client, which she saw as similar to Long Game’s.

We really focus on the client’s experience of financial development – taking something that feels hard and sometimes frustrating and making it inspiring, fun, and even magical, ”she added.“ It’s great to be a part of it. a cohesive team that invests in our dream to create the best customer experience. “

Copyright: Long Game founder and manager Lindsay Holden

Meanwhile, the intersections between the banks and the start of fintech are constantly happening, where both are partners or competitors or as in this case, one gets the other. Many banks have realized that it makes more sense – financially and logically – to have established fintech rather than trying to build the technology themselves.

We are a face-to-face organization. We spent some time meeting our customers. so we know our customers want to keep in touch with us personally but also want to work with us digitally, ”Vreeland said.“ We want to maintain touch balance through all digital channels We’ve been following it, so we’re really excited about the Long Game ability to help us do that. “

As evidenced by the increased digital focus, Trust earlier this year closed dozens of physical branches.

Vreeland said she was also drawn to the fact that Long Game was led by the female chief executive.

“We are really excited to meet a female manager – that was really important for us as we consider building really different products and services within the Trust as customers and communities we serve,” she added.

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