Fast, a fast one-click payment platform, is closing today. Along with the move, Fast is giving a “vast majority” of its engineers the opportunity to join Affirm, a public fintech company in the “buy now, pay later” space, according to Affirm.
According to an email seen by TechCrunch and first obtained by Business Insider, Fast CEO Domm Holland said the shutdown of his business was the result of a lack of financial resources to continue operating the business. He also noted that the current environment is “extremely challenging for high-growth tech companies.”
“With the end of Fast, our agreement will allow the vast majority of our engineers to transition into positions at Affirm. I am grateful to Affirm for their work in getting many of our engineers into big roles quickly,” Holland continued in the email, noting that Affirm has approximately $3 billion in cash on its balance sheet. Holland did not specify how many engineers would have the opportunity to join Affirm, and whether that was decided by seniority, team or geographic location.
Although acquisition is a common avenue for a startup in need of a soft landing to secure an exit, this decision appears to be different. A person familiar with the manner alleges that Fast was in talks with Affirm management over this separate deal from its closure, which will include the removal of all services and the existence of the brand. In other words, Affirm seems to want Fast’s talent, but not a whiff of its product.
Affirm, which went public in 2020, recently raised its financial outlook for the third quarter with lower operating expenses and higher revenue expectations. In an email to TechCrunch, an Affirm spokesperson noted that the company has a long history of investing in engineering talent, and in the past year has made three strategic talent acquisitions.
“With Fast ending its operations and abandoning its brand and products, we saw another opportunity to invite a great technology team to join us,” the statement said. “While we have no plans to enter the one-click payment business, we look forward to welcoming many talented engineers from Fast to Affirm as we continue to advance our roadmap of existing products in support of our mission to create honest financial products that improve lives.”
Fast declined to say how long the talks will last and how many Fast employees will receive job offers.
When it comes to vision, the overlap between Fast and Affirm isn’t too hard to figure out. Fast was launched with the aim of making it easier for consumers to make purchases on e-commerce websites, while Affirm was launched to help consumers pay for those online purchases in the first place. Both companies have created platform-independent services that support the optimization of consumer buying journeys; though obviously the fate of one was better established than that of the others.
Affirm’s active merchants grew to 168,000, up 2,030% from the previous year, and its partners cover more than 60% of US e-commerce, including Walmart, Amazon, Target, Peloton and tons from Shopify. It also has more than 11 million active consumers, up 150% year over year.
Current and former Fast employees can contact Natasha Mascarenhas by email at [email protected] or on Signal, a secure encrypted messaging app, at 925 609 4188. You can also direct message her on Twitter @nmasc_.