Curve Card - Crowdfunding

Curve is another Fintech taking on the incumbent banks, but different from the challenger banks such as Monzo and Starling, they are instead an aggregator service or as they like to call it an over-the-top banking platform.

The idea is relatively straightforward, instead of building everything themselves like Revolut, they are aggregating services across multiple service providers into one platform. They also offer some pretty handy features:

·       A single card which links to all your other cards, you can simply leave your other cards at home and swap which card you are using via the curve card in their app. It is more secure and means you really only need to handle one PIN number

o   Note 1: there has been some Curve down-time recently, so I do carry at least one other card

o   Note 2: My corporate card is not supported so I couldn’t connect it

·       Go back in time – If you forgot to switch to the correct card before making your purchase, no problem, they allow you to change this up to 14 days

·       1% cashback on selected retailers including Amazon, Trainline, Tesco and many more (the number you can choose depends on your account type)

·       And yes, they do have a metal card, with the normal perks, just like most others

·       Link to expense apps such as Concur

·       Improved FX rates

They currently got ~0.5mn user which is significantly smaller than the likes of N26 and Monzo, but they are earlier on their journey.

There is a pretty good and brief article on sifted here (https://sifted.eu/articles/fintech-rebundling-begins/). It gives some interesting insight on where they see themselves playing, calling themselves Spotify of financial services and the likes of Revolut as the iPod.

Crowdfunding

Following on from raising their series B they allocated £1mn of capital to be crowdfunded via their existing users at the Series B valuation (series B raised $55mn, at a ~$250mn valuation). For people who did similar things with Revolut and Monzo on Crowdcube this certainly paid off giving returns of:

·       Revolut 19x, only 2 years after crowdfunding round

·       Monzo 25x return based on latest raise valuation, but they have elected to keep their crowd funders so it hasn’t materialised yet

I like what Curve is attempting to do, and I can see how bundling products will give a better experience overall than trying to build everything in-house (e.g. how long has Revolut been speaking about opening up share investments or Apple Pay before they managed to launch it). Their model also seems to come with a more attractive customer acquisition costs and significantly reduced overhead costs, and as such a more attractive business model, the question for me is how sticky is the solution and what keeps the big guys away from entering this space for a land grab.

All in all, I see this as a very high-risk investment, but one which could pay off handsomely.

Disclosure: I’ve decided to invest a small sum as part of their crowdfunding campaign if I am quick enough to get in as it is first come first serve.

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