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Capital One's String of Mobile Acquisitions Turns Into a Monsoon

Following onto its purchase last year of Adaptive Path, the company is buying another mobile app designer.

Capital One

It was somewhat surprising last year when Web design firm Adaptive Path was acquired by banking company Capital One.

But the Washington, D.C.-area bank hasn’t stopped there. On Wednesday it is announcing it has also scooped up Monsoon, a 40-person Oakland, Calif.-based mobile development shop.

Capital One won’t say how much it is paying for Monsoon, but said it is in line with other acquisitions of similarly sized firms.

As for why it is buying Monsoon, Managing Vice President Skip Potter said the company has a lot of ideas on how to revolutionize banking with mobile apps but needs more workers than it could simply hire on its own.

“You can’t just kind of dream it up,” Potter said. “You have to really attract the right talent.”

Capital One, best known for its credit card business, has been trying to attract a new generation of banking customers who prefer powerful apps over physical branches. It has opened a handful of cafes in big cities such as San Francisco, but even there the focus is on helping customers get familiar with the brand as opposed to handling individual transactions.

In addition to buying Monsoon and Adaptive Path, Capital One last year hired former Google Designer Dan Makoski.

Monsoon had previously done work for clients in a range of industries. Monsoon founder Sandeep Sood admits not everyone in the firm was immediately thrilled on focusing solely on banking. At a staff meeting to discuss the deal, workers were asked who viewed the banking industry as a hotbed of innovation.

“Initially no hands went up,” Sood said.

But, in the end, he said 95 percent of workers opted to move over to Capital One. In addition to keeping their jobs, Sood said, working for a single company has other benefits. As an outside contract agency, as Monsoon had been, Sood said that “you are never really true owner of a project and never get to do the most high impact work.”

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