Walmart’s fintech venture with Ribbit Capital gives it a way to influence more technological developments in the retail industry.
Walmart plans to augment its retail scale with Ribbit’s fintech expertise to produce “financial experiences” for Walmart’s customers and staff. The deal gives Walmart an added route to sweeten services such as Walmart+ and build additional financial service and e-commerce value ads to counter rivals such as Amazon.
Ribbit’s investment history suggests an expertise in several important areas that Walmart will need to manage open banking, embedded payments, alternative payroll and point of sale credit.
Ribbit is well known as an investor in the stock trading app Robinhood, and Ribbit’s portfolio includes challenger banks, fintechs and companies that position themselves as alternatives to legacy banking.
Ribbit has invested in Affirm, a buy now-pay later provider that offers point of sale credit for consumers wishing to avoid the revolving debt of a credit card. Walmart became an Affirm client in 2019. Other Ribbit investments include Revolut, a U.K. fintech that has its roots in mobile payments but is adding banking in Europe through new licences and PSD2 open banking hookups; Coinbase, a crypto exchange; Earnin, a firm that allows workers to access their salaries on demand instead of waiting for the traditional two-week cycle; and Razorpay, which offers a Stripe-style gateway for online sellers. Another Ribbit portfolio firm, Chainalays, provides data,