Truist – One of the country’s largest financial institutions has bought a 12-person startup called Long Game, which has raised more than $20 million in venture capital.
At the end of June of 2021, Truist was the 10th-largest bank in the country. It had $509 billion in assets at the time. As of 2019, it was made up of BB&T and SunTrust banks, which merged to make it.
Long Game, which was founded in 2015, has built a gamified mobile app that aims to help people “save, learn, and have fun” with their money. The San Francisco-based startup wants to get people to save money and play casual games to make them want to be smart with their money.
Both companies didn’t say how much Truist paid for Long Game or how much the company made. There was just one statement made: that the firm was “increasing year over year.”
Over $20 million has been invested in Long Game by investors like Vestigo Ventures, Franklin Templeton, Thrive Capital, and Collaborative Fund. Long Game co-founder and CEO Lindsay Holden is in charge of running the company.
Over half of Americans have less than $500 in savings, so if something happens that isn’t planned, it can be very bad for their finances. “We wanted to look at that problem differently.” Behavioral economics and how people are motivated were also on our minds. One thing we came across was “prize-linked savings,” which is a behavioral economics thing.
When someone puts money in a savings account for a chance to win, it’s called “prize-linked savings.”
Putting money into a savings account instead of buying a lottery ticket and then tossing the money away is “taking that lottery dynamic, where people are trying to win big and putting it toward something,” Holden said.
Long Game is aimed more at Generation Z and millennials, Holden said, noting that former employees of Zynga are on the staff.
A true game, because we are using game dynamics to teach people about money. To get people to interact with Long Game, she said, “We use the best practices in gaming to do this.” “There’s a trivia part, and clients get money for learning.”
There have been a lot of social media marketing and ads in games for it so far.
For Truist, the chance to reach a sought-after and hard-to-reach group of young people was appealing.
There is a company called Truist Ventures that the bank owns. Vanessa Vreeland, head of corporate development, while the bank didn’t buy its first fintech company, it was probably the most important one.
“This one was different,” she said. In this case, it didn’t have a balance sheet with it. It was our first acquisition of a company that didn’t have a balance sheet. LightStream, an online lender, and Service Finance, a point-of-sale software company, were both bought by Truist/SunTrust before.
The engineers, designers, and executives who worked for Long Game will now be part of Truist’s Innovation team.
“We conceive of ourselves as a massive start-up,” says the CEO.
We were also looking for ways to not only get new customers, but to build a stronger relationship with them, Vreeland told the story. “… We thought, “What better way to connect with our customers and attract new customers from younger generations to Truist than to offer a really exciting gamified way to save and to get excited about personal finances? Eventually, Truist’s app will be “integrated” with the app, according to the Long Game.
People who live in more than 15 million homes will be able to use a new version of the app, the bank says.
Trust has offices in San Francisco, where it serves both its wealthy clients and clients in the corporate and investment banking fields.
The critical mass of employees in our San Francisco office is exciting, and we’ll be adding additional technical, product, and design expertise to assist Lindsay and her team in the coming months.”
Vreeland says that Truist learned about Long Game in a lot of different ways. For one thing, Long Game took part in FIS’s Fintech Accelerator Program. She also learned about the company through her contacts.
As for Holden, she thought Truist’s “intense focus” on the client was a lot like that of Long Game, which she thought was a good thing for her.
“When it comes to making genuine money movements, we are solely concerned with what our customers think and feel.” The opportunity to be a part of an organization dedicated to providing the greatest financial experience to consumers is an exciting one for me as a member of the team.
Meanwhile, more often than not, banks and fintech start-ups come together. Either they work together or compete with each other, or one of them is bought by the other. And many banks have come to realize that it makes more sense for them to buy an already-established fintech company than to try to build the technology themselves.
“We are a very person-centered company.” Many hours were spent meeting with our clients. It’s also clear to us that our clients want to keep meeting us in person but also want to work with us online. We need to stay in touch with people through all of the digital channels we use, and we were very excited about Long Game’s ability to help us do that.
Truist closed down a lot of physical branches this year as a sign that they’re more focused on the web
Vreeland said she was also drawn to the fact that the CEO of Long Game was a woman.
“We were quite pleased to meet a female CEO,” says Truist’s CEO. That was important to us as we think about how to build a portfolio of products and services inside Truist that are as diverse as the clients and communities we serve.”