Truist Financial Acquires Long Game Gamified Fintech Startup

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Financial truist Corp.

operator of one of the nation’s largest commercial banks, has invested in gaming technology by acquiring Long Game Savings Inc., maker of a mobile app that rewards users for their savings.

The deal, led by Truist Ventures, the bank’s venture capital arm based in Charlotte, North Carolina, includes Long Game’s team of engineers and designers. Truist said he plans to operate Long Game as a standalone app for the time being with the goal of converting app users into customers. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Truist Financial CIO Scott Case


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True Financial Corp.

“The business advantage of Long Game is to acquire new households [and] deepening relationships with existing households,” said Scott Case, Chief Information Officer of Truist.

San Francisco-based Long Game had 12 bank and credit union customers before it acquired Truist, co-founder and CEO Lindsay Holden said, with users spending about 13 minutes per session and saving an average of about $60 per session. months, she said. Long Game has attracted “hundreds of thousands” of users since the company launched in 2015, Ms Holden said.

Ms. Holden will continue to lead Long Game’s 12-person team, which will report to Mr. Case.

The deal comes as video game industry consolidation continues to ride a post-pandemic wave, culminating earlier this year with Microsoft Body

bid to acquire video game giant Activision Blizzard Inc.

in an all-cash deal valued at $75 billion. M&A spending in games nearly tripled to $26.2 billion in 2021, from $8.9 billion in 2020, according to PitchBook.

Outside of the gaming industry, companies like Truist are looking to capitalize on the same interactive qualities that keep eyeballs glued to the screen for bigger business pursuits.

Also known as gamification, the effort embeds game mechanics into a task or goal, such as saving money in a checking account, to motivate current users and attract new ones. For banks and financial services companies, gamification is seen as a way to attract young users.

Gamification is an extension of what young customers experience in the non-financial aspects of their lives, including entertainment and education, said Mike Foy, head of wealth intelligence at market research firm JD. Power.

“Gamification obviously creates a more sticky user experience and that’s going to get people engaged,” he said.

A 2017 Accenture survey found that 65% of millennials said they want gamification to help them learn more about investing.

Truist isn’t the only financial company to dabble in gamification. Allied Financial Inc.

rolled out interactive digital games to boost marketing and financial education efforts, including integrations with popular games Animal Crossing and Minecraft, said Andrea Brimmer, head of marketing and public relations at Ally.

At Truist, the Long Game team will initially focus on the gaming app, but its tasks may expand over time to improve the user experience on the banking app, Mr. Case said.

Long Game users earn in-app coins by reaching savings goals and taking financial literacy quizzes. Coins unlock eligibility to play games, which can earn cash rewards. Truist accounts will underpin the Long Game app as users earn in-app coins by increasing account balances.

Lindsay Holden, CEO of Long Game


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long game

The regular interaction model through games in Long Game allows users to contribute to their savings goals, helping to build deposits for the bank, said Ms. Holden, CEO of the company.

“I’m very passionate about math and data and I also care a lot about aesthetics and art, and I realized that designing consumer mobile experiences marries those things perfectly,” said Ms. Holden, who previously co-founded online auction startup Innovative Auctions.

Long Game had raised $20 million and investors included Vestigo Ventures, Franklin Templeton,

Thrive Capital and Collaborative Fund, Ms. Holden said.

In December 2019, BB&T Corp. completed its $28.2 billion acquisition of SunTrust Banks Inc. to create Truist, the seventh-largest U.S. commercial bank, according to the company. Average deposits for the first quarter of 2022 were $415.2 billion, up 8.4% from the same period in 2021.

Write to Suman Bhattacharyya at [email protected]

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