American Express is buying most of cash flow management startup Kabbage to boost its financial technology offerings to small businesses.
Kabbage, which started out in 2009 as an online lender, uses machine learning to determine a business’s eligibility for a loan and the repayment. It also provides small business solutions including online banking, payments, and an analytics tool for making cash flow decisions.
The acquisition continues AmEx’s push into fintech services, adding Kabbage’s 500,000 clients to its base of 2.5 million small-business credit customers.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed but reports earlier this month put the value at up to $850 million. It does not include Kabbage’s pre-existing loan portfolio, which will be handled by a separate entity that has yet to be established.
“For several years, American Express has been expanding beyond our industry-leading commercial card products to offer our business customers a growing set of payment and working capital solutions,” Anna Marrs, president of Global Commercial Services at American Express, said in a news release.
“This acquisition accelerates our plans to offer U.S. small businesses an easy and efficient way to manage their payments and cash flow digitally in one place, which is more critical than ever in today’s environment,” she added.
More than 225,000 U.S. small business clients have accessed more $9.5 billion of working capital through Kabbage, the company said in March. But according to TechCrunch, “things have been tricky since February, with business dropping off a cliff after many SMBs were forced to shut their doors at the start of the [coronavirus] pandemic.”
The company furloughed staff at the end of March, abruptly shut down its credit lines for SMBs in April, and then began processing Payment Protection Program loans.
“We have built a technology and data platform that provides [SMBs] with the kind of capabilities and insights often reserved for larger businesses,” Kabbage CEO Rob Frohwein said. “By joining American Express, we can help more small businesses succeed with a fully digital suite of financial products to help them run and grow their companies.”