Spanish bank BBVA has acquired Finnish startup Holvi, a licensed payment company specializing in developing digital accounts for small business owners.
Holvi, which began operations in Helsinki in 2011, currently offers digital accounts with MasterCard in helping small business owners set up online stores with digital invoicing and money management tools.
BBVA did not disclose the financial terms of the acquisition, but the move falls in line with the bank's trend of incorporating fintech startups into its digital strategy.
In 2015, BBVA agreed to take a strategic 29.5% stake in Atom, the yet-to-be-launched U.K. mobile-only bank, and acquired San Francisco-based Spring Studio, a user experience and design firm to enhance its digital technology offerings.
In 2014, the bank purchased big data and cloud-computing start-up Madiva Soluciones, and Portland, Ore.-based neo-banking startup Simple.
BBVA is also an investor in Propel, a new venture capital partnership that seeks investment opportunities in startups focusing on advancing financial services through technology.
"We’re excited about Holvi as we share a vision about the benefit of technology for the customer," Teppo Paavola, chief development officer and general manager of new digital businesses at BBVA, said in a March 7 release. "They use digital to bring a new approach to small business banking, where services essential to a business’ future such as invoicing are built into their core offer.”
Holvi has used Nordea Finland as its main banking partner in the past. The company employs only 18 full-time staff members.
BBVA says it will take an arms-length approach to running Holvi, but establish a "two-way flow of knowledge, ideas and support" between the two companies, with the company retaining all team members under the guidance of CEO Johan Lorenzen. BBVA has also been working the past year to establish its mobile wallet in the U.S. by adding a rewards program to the service.