Simple internet banker, who has been among Portland’s most promising tech companies, is closing its doors

Simple internet banker, one of Portland’s leading technology companies over the past decade, has been shutting down as part of the parent bank’s sale.

A simple team notified employees of the pending shutdown Wednesday and told clients Thursday, describing it as a “strategic decision”. Simple told clients that it would transfer their accounts to BBVA but did not specify a schedule for the change.

In November, BBVA announced It will sell its US business to PNC Financial Services Group for $ 11.6 billion.

“We are focusing on the things that make the most sense for the future of the company either on an independent basis or on a potential basis with PNC,” BBVA said in a written statement on Thursday. BBVA is also closing two other fintech services it owns, Azlo and Open Platform.

Founded in 2009, Simple He moved from Brooklyn to Portland Two years later, amid a renaissance of tech entrepreneurship in Oregon. It was instantly among the city’s top tech companies, promising a fee-free, consumer-friendly approach to online banking.

simple It was sold in 2014 to the Spanish banker BBVA for $ 117 million It did not find a foothold under the new ownership. The company struggled with the competition as the major banks adopted many convenient online banking features that helped Simple lead.

The company faltered I tried to resolve the central tension About whether it is primarily a bank or a tech company. Simple laid off 10% of its employees in 2017 and replaced nearly all of its executives. Nine months later, Founding CEO Josh Reich has resigned.

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“I suspect PNC is prioritizing existing internet banking technology,” Reich tweeted Thursday. “I feel sad about the closure but am happy for the journey and the ever-changing change that Simple has brought about in the world of global banking. Customer experience matters. Great difference matters.”

Simple has been among the largest tech employers in Portland. Its current employees are 220, according to BBVA, 80% of them are in the Northwest.

BBVA has not disclosed details of Simple’s solution or the fate of its office in southeast Portland, at the eastern end of Hawthorne Bridge.

“There are still many details that must be addressed as part of ending the entity,” BBVA said in a statement on Thursday. “As we work through regulatory approval and integration plans, our long-term recruitment needs will become more apparent.”

The minimalist embodied both the aspirations and disappointments of the Portland tech community in the years following the Great Recession. Leveraging mobile technology, social networking and cloud computing, Simple was among a hopeful new generation of startups in Oregon that ended Silicon Forest’s historic reliance on hardware manufacturing.

Other programs of this generation included Jive Software, Urban Airship (now Airship), Elemental Technologies, Puppet, Jama Software, Janrain, and Act-On Software. It has collectively attracted hundreds of millions of dollars in venture capital and employed thousands of people.

All of them have endured their share of setbacks, however, none of them have grown into a truly large company. Some still run – The doll says it hopes to release it to the public this year Others sold to larger technology companies that continue to operate in Portland.

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No big new tech company has emerged in Oregon since the 1990s, and old companies are steadily fading. Sale of $ 8 billion to Wilsonville-based Flir Systems, Announced MondayThere are only two tech companies left in Oregon.

Simple’s dedicated customer service and commitment to helping their clients save money, rather than spend it, have set them apart from larger and more established banks and have earned them a loyal following among customers.

Online, there was a flood of disappointment from some of these clients on Thursday.

– Mike Rogway | [email protected] | Twitter: Embed a Tweet | 503-294-7699

Thelma Binder

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