Capital One buys concierge app offering Dolomite skiing, sperm whale swimming
Capital One Financial Corp. agreed to buy the digital concierge service Velocity Black as it pushes deeper into premium credit cards and other luxury markets dominated by American Express Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co.
The deal gives Capital One a global platform focused on luxury travel, entertainment, shopping and dining, according to a statement Thursday. Terms weren’t disclosed, though Velocity Black says on its website it’s backed by $28 million in venture capital.
Capital One, which has been trying to lure more premium consumers, debuted its $395-a-year Venture X card in 2021. The company has been building out platforms for travel bookings and dining reservations and developing a network of airport lounges around the U.S.
“We’ve been building what we think are just really powerful experiences in each of these verticals: travel, dining and entertainment,” Matt Knise, senior vice president of premium products and experiences at Capital One, said in an interview. “Velocity Black has been doing something similar for their own customers.”
Ski safaris in the Italian Dolomites and swimming with sperm whales in Dominica are among the experiences Velocity Black offers its customers on its app. The company also arranges free travel upgrades and preferred rates.
Capital One has said premium customers — known as “transactors” in industry parlance because they’re often heavy spenders but not as reliant on borrowing — are valuable over the long term because they are less likely to switch brands and typically spend more.
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and Macfarlanes LLP served as legal counsel to Capital One, while Morgan Stanley was the firm’s financial adviser. Latham & Watkins and Lazard & Co. advised Velocity Black.