Intuit’s $360M Acquisition of Check Signals Opportunity in Mobile Payments Industry

Intuit Inc. (NASDAQ: INTU) announced today its intent to acquire  Check, a Palo Alto-based leader in the mobile payments industry, for $360M.  Once completed, Check will be integrated into Intuit’s personal finance offerings, including industry-leading solutions Quicken, TurboTax, and Quickbooks.  See Intuit’s press release here.

From our view, this acquisition underscores consumers increasing desire for mobile apps that allow them to take action with their money and help them accomplish every day financial tasks, such as bill pay and household budgeting. Consumers and merchants are beginning to see the advantage of channeling offline payments through mobile devices, rather than transacting in coins and cash, credit cards — or clunky register systems.

U.S. consumers were expected to pay more than 14.7 billion bills in 2013, according to Aite Group.  Online and mobile payments accounted for nearly half of all bills paid that year.  Additionally, the global market for mobile payments is forecast to grow about threefold by 2017 to some $721 billion worth of transactions, with more than 450 million users, according to research firm Gartner. The mobile payments market is truly exploding!

Consumer interest like this has made Check a leading company in mobile bill payment and financial management since its founding in 2008. Check provides consumers with an integrated, real-time view of their complete financial picture, including bills, bank balances, credit card balances, brokerage accounts, and other financial assets all aggregated on a user’s mobile phone.  Check’s world-class encryption and security protects consumers from fraud and sends push notifications to its users to remind them of bills coming due, potential overdrafts, and alerts them to large deposits or withdrawals from their accounts.  Check is also integrated with a number of major utility billers such as water and power utilities, cable and phone companies, and trash and municipal utilities.

Check was founded by two Israeli entrepreneurs, Guy Goldstein and Ahikam Kaufman.  Menlo Ventures was one of the three major venture investors along with Pitango Ventures and Morgenthaler Ventures. Menlo made a 3x return in just nine months on the acquisition.

With this acquisition, it’s clear that mobile devices today are coming closer to fulfilling their long-delayed promise as digital wallets, and tech and financial services players don’t want to be left behind.

Doug Carlisle is a managing director at Menlo Ventures, where he focuses on investments in the cloud, SAAS and mobile sectors.  His currents investments and board seats include LiveOps, Lytx (formerly Drivecam), Vidyo, Scality, Ansible, nLight Photonics, Cellfire, and RF Surgical.