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Capital One Acquires Austin Tech Startup Wikibuy

Statesman, Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Austin-based tech startup Wikibuy, which helps shoppers compare prices at Amazon and hundreds of other online retailers, has been acquired by financial services giant Capital One, the companies said Tuesday.

Financial terms of the deal were not released. Wikibuy and its 21 employees will remain based in Austin, Wikibuy co-CEOs Walt Roloson and Adam Gauvin said in a Tuesday blog post on the company’s website.

“Capital One shares Wikibuy’s vision of helping customers save and make better financial decisions. The combination of Wikibuy and Capital One is phenomenal news for our customers. Together, Wikibuy will be able to leverage the power of Capital One’s platform to expand our offering and provide new innovative products that will help our users save even more time, and more money,” Roloson and Gauvin said in their blog post. “As it has moved further into digital experiences, Capital One has expanded the ways it helps customers make better financial decisions. Now, with Wikibuy, Capital One is taking the next step in its commitment to providing users with a portfolio of technology that can help them save time and save money throughout the shopping lifecycle.”

Wikibuy was started in 2016 by Austin entrepreneur Jonathan Coon, who is also the founder of 1-800-Contacts. In an interview with the American-Statesman earlier this year, Coon described Wikibuy as being like “Waze applied to shopping.” The company operates as a comparison-shopping tool. It combines the company’s own information and machine learning with the crowdsourced experiences of its users. It compares prices across sites, and also verifies and applies coupon codes and calculates overall shipping and tax to give customers a final price.

Wikibuy currently has more than 2 million users.

For Capital One, the acquisition continues the bank’s recent trend of buying financial tech companies to increase its digital offerings for consumers. In 2016, Capital One acquired Paribus, a company that helps consumers get refunds when prices drop after a purchase.

“We believe that the future of banking is in providing intelligent, real-time banking tools that proactively anticipate and deliver on what consumers need,” Joe Poellnitz, senior vice president of of U.S. Card for Capital One Financial, said in a written statement. “With Wikibuy, we’ve acquired an innovative startup that fits squarely within this objective. Together we can give our customers tools to help them save time, money, and the ability to shop with confidence.”

CapM Advisors acted as financial advisor to Wikibuy. Vinson & Elkins served as legal advisor to Wikibuy and Arnold & Porter served as legal advisor to Capital One.

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