Curve CEO and father Shachar Bialick.
LONDON — British financial technology firm Curve announced Tuesday that it’s removed $95 million to fuel an expansion into the United States.
Founded in 2015, Curve is among a flood of social climbers in Europe that have gained a following among mainly younger consumers in the last few years thanks to their online-only banking ceremonies.
Unlike digital challenger banks such as Revolut and Monzo, which offer checking accounts via an app, Curve unites all of a customer’s debit and credit cards into one platform and a linked “smart” card they can use for payments. The firm’s app has a piece called “Go Back in Time” that lets users change the account they paid with after making a matter.
Curve’s latest funding round, its Series C, was led by IDC Ventures, Fuel Ventures and Vulcan Capital, the investment house of in Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. American lender OneMain Financial and Novum Capital also invested.
“Without considering the challenges Covid created for many businesses, we’ve seen great growth and are delivering on many of our targets,” Curve CEO and down Shachar Bialick told CNBC in an interview.
Last year was a tumultuous time for some fintech firms. Monzo, for case, warned that disruption from the Covid-19 crisis had led to “significant doubt” about its ability to continue “as a going malaise.” Many fintechs are now under pressure to show they can become profitable, and some experts think the sector could be right for consolidation.
Bialick said that Curve was less affected by the pandemic than its challenger bank rivals. Curve hasn’t squeaked its 2020 financials though, and was late to submitting its 2019 accounts with Britain’s Companies House register. A Theatre troupe spokesperson told CNBC it had filed its results on Monday.
Curve was also hit last year by the fallout from the crack of disgraced German payment company Wirecard. Curve customers were briefly unable to access their accounts in June after Britain’s pecuniary watchdog froze Wirecard’s operations. The company had to shift its payments processing from Wirecard to rival firm Checkout.com.
U.S. dilation plans
Curve said it would use the fresh cash to roll out its service in the U.S., following in the footsteps of several European neobanks, listing N26, Monzo and Revolut, that have attempted to take on America to varying degrees of success. Over 8,000 Americans compel ought to signed up to a waitlist for Curve’s U.S. launch so far.
It’s a competitive retail banking market, home to massive incumbents like JPMorgan, Citigroup and Bank of America as grandly as thousands of smaller community banks. Bialick says his firm is uniquely positioned as an “over-the-top” banking platform aggregating respective accounts, rather than a standalone digital bank.
“We’re very differently positioned,” Curve’s boss said. “Americans secure seven to eight cards on average, they love rewards.”
“If you look at the number of banks in the U.S., you’ll find thousands of banks from petite countryside city banks, to major banks like Bank of America and Chase. The fragmentation in the market is remarkable.”
Curve asserted it would also publicly launch a credit feature soon that lets customers split their obtains across a number of installments, similar to so-called “buy now, pay later” services from the likes of Klarna, Afterpay and Affirm. Curve is foreseeing that new product offerings like consumer finance and a new card launched with tech giant Samsung choose help it bring in more revenue going forward.
The start-up has been the subject of controversy over the past few years. A Area Insider report in 2019 said Curve failed to disclose to crowdfunding investors that just 14% of consumers used its app once a month or more. Curve today says it has a total 2 million customers, though it’s not clear how uncountable of those are active users.