Walmart and Green Dot are partnering to establish a new fintech accelerator, TailFin Labs, LLC, to develop innovative products, services and technologies that sit at the intersection of retail and consumer financial services.
Integrating omnichannel retail and financial services
This new initiative builds on the existing relationship between the two companies. Green Dot is the issuing bank and program manager for the Walmart MoneyCard programme. The companies are also extending this agreement for an additional seven years. Walmart will be the majority owner of TailFin Labs, which will focus on developing tech-enabled solutions that integrate omnichannel retail and financial services. Commenting on the programme, Daniel Eckert, SVP Walmart services and digital acceleration, stated,
“Over the years, Walmart has brought to market many innovative industry-defining financial services offerings to serve our customers. With this expanded relationship, and by leveraging Walmart’s footprint and existing offerings with Green Dot’s cutting-edge capabilities, we’ll be uniquely positioned to offer an unmatched set of customer experiences that sit at the nexus of omni-channel retail and tech-enabled financial services.”
Opportunity to create new customer solutions
Through marrying omnichannel retail and financial services, this accelerator has the potential to develop new tools, particularly those focused on budgeting, for Walmart’s shoppers. Developing customer-focused solutions has been the hallmark of the retailer’s Store No.8 incubator. This was established in 2017 to focus on assessing the opportunities for innovative technologies such as virtual reality, artificial intelligence and driverless vehicles within the retail environment. It partners with venture capitalists and academics to help setup and support start-up organisations to develop fresh solutions for Walmart. Its text-based ecommerce service, Jetblack, emerged out of this incubator.
Building the ecosystem
Financial services are a component part of the ecosystem which Walmart is developing. This aligns with a move to focus its efforts on activities beyond physical and digital retailing. Over the last three years it has made a series of acquisitions, formed new partnerships and divested non-core businesses to support this. It has also become more proactive in testing new models and technologies. The acquisition of Flipkart was a pivotal deal. Not only did it bring significant new capabilities around logistics, payments and social platforms, it also helped Walmart to learn more about developing an ecosystem. This is still a work in progress for the business, but it has all the fundamental pieces in place. Accelerators such as TailFin Labs could help it combine them in a meaningful way.
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