Curve, the London-headquartered fintech that connects all users bank cards in one place, has launched a new crowdfunding campaign in a bid to increase customer “evangelism” as it aims to become a “super-app”.
The app has raised £132million since launching in 2015, with its Series C fundraising securing £72.5 million from investors including IDC Ventures and Vulcan Capital - the investment arm of the estate of Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul G. Allen.
The app was last valued at $250 million (£190 million) in 2019, but the start-up said today its latest raise and moves has seen its value triple to £591.7 million.
Curve, which is planning a full US launch, European expansion and the rollout of its new credit offering in 2021, ran anoriginal crowdfunding round in 2019 broke records. It had a £1 million target, but raised £4 million in 42 minutes and over £5.5million from around 9,500 investors within five hours.
The new round is also being held in Crowdcube with a £1 million target, but founder Shachar Bialick said that the app would potentially allow it to increase again.
The valuation will be £591.7 million with a share price of £8.6212. Customers will be able to invest as little as £17.64 - which buys two shares - and up to £1 million.
The founder told the Standard that the crowdfunding is about customer engagement, as the serious cash fuelling expansion is coming from Curve’s institutional investors.
He said: “In 2019 we reached our goal within five minutes… There has been a lot of demand from customers for another crowdfund.
“It is also that we look at the data and have seen that with that cohort of investors their retention rate is significantly higher… They continue to refer [new customers] 12-16 months in.
“It [crowdfunding] allows us to increase evangelism within our customer base.
“It’s for customers to come in and be part of the family. The money is not helping us operationally.”
The 2019 crowdfunding round was criticised by the FT at the time for not providing financials to potential retail investors.
Curve told the Standard that this time “while we are not required to provide a prospectus, to give our potential crowdfunding investors a better understanding of our business and its growth prospects, we will be providing a detailed pitch presentation in which we will be disclosing key metrics we monitor as well as historical financial information and forecasts”.
Curve now has an office Lithuania as well as London, Bristol and Brooklyn, after Brexit prompted the company to open an EU office.
The app says it doubled its customer base to over two million in 2020 despite suspending marketing activities to save cash, and that it hired 100 new staff as transaction volumes increased by over £1billion to £2.6billion.
“The idea is to become a super-app,” Bialick said. “To converge that host of products from the disparate world of money to become the focal point of access.
“If successful, Curve has the potential to become an operating system for money - a money super-app… It’s not just all your cards in one, but all your money in one place, so you have more control.”
The platform accommodates everything from high street to challenger banks, allows contactless payments through its app, gives cashback on spend in outlets including Pret, and its “Time Travel” feature lets users switch old payments to different accounts to free up cash.
Last year it partnered with Samsung to launch a digital payments card, and it has an “anti-embarassment mode” that ensures users’ payments never bounce on a date.
The crowdfunding round will be open for pre-registration from 8am on Tuesday.