Afternoon Coffee: Visa acquisition of Plaid is canceled; The Smart Cube updates Amplifi PRO platform; Agiloft hires new chief product officer

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Visa and Plaid, a fintech solution, called off an acquisition agreement, officially ending the consumer credit giant’s takeover of the data-focused API start-up, according to TechCrunch.

The deal — valued at $5.3 billion — was announced a year ago, the article said. The Department of Justice then filed a suit in November to block the deal, arguing that the combination would “eliminate a nascent competitive threat that would likely result in substantial savings and more innovative online debit services for merchants and consumers.”

In a press release, Visa said it could have eventually executed the deal, but that “protracted and complex litigation” would take too much time to sort out. Plaid said in the last year it had seen “an unprecedented uptick in demand for the services powered by Plaid.” Plaid told TechCrunch that it saw 60% customer growth in 2020, bringing it to more than 4,000 clients.

The deal was seen as a huge step in the fintech boom of 2020, but its undoing may have thrown cold water on future deals for start-ups, the article said.

"The Department of Justice, in other words, may have undercut the chances of M&A exits for a number of fintech-focused start-ups or at least created more skittishness around that possible exit path," it said.

The Smart Cube releases updated version of Amplifi PRO digital procurement intelligence platform

The Smart Cube, a provider of strategic research and analytics solutions, released an updated version of its product Amplifi PRO, an on-demand digital procurement intelligence platform.

In a press release announcing the update, the company said this release contains new commodity-focused features and two new types of category report. It intends to give category managers even deeper insights and more valuable decision-making tools, like a sourcing destinations dashboard and cost calculator tool, among other things.

“The platform roadmap for Amplifi PRO continues to evolve as does our investment in new content and features, ensuring the best possible experience for our users,” Gaurav Kumar, COO at The Smart Cube, said in the press release. “This release contains an even greater depth of market intelligence, with new and more detailed category report formats, as well as some great new tools to enhance commodity intelligence and decision making. Going forward we will release new content and features twice a year.”

Agiloft hires new chief product officer Andy Wishart

Agiloft, a contract lifecycle management (CLM) solution provider, recently hired Andy Wishart, the co-founder of Contract Express and most recently at Thomson Reuters, according to the website Artificial Lawyer.

Wishart will join Agiloft as the chief product officer to “further accelerate innovation” at the US-based business. However, Wishart will stay in the UK, likely signaling the company wishes to expand. Agiloft said Wishart will play a key role in accelerating its CLM product development and homebuilt AI capabilities, which will be used for clause extraction and contract risk scoring.

“I am very excited to be joining Agiloft’s dynamic team at this pivotal moment in its growth and innovation,” Wishart said. “As a recognized industry leader, Agiloft has developed exciting AI capabilities around clause extraction and risk scoring and has integrated that seamlessly into the user’s contracting workflows. I look forward to bringing my passion and expertise to the table to spur on the company’s course of product development.”

The article said Wishart’s input on product development should show soon. The focus on NLP document-analysis tools will likely evolve over time as well. Agiloft received a $45 million investment last summer that will help pay for much of the new product development initiatives.

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