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UK fintech Curve raises $95m in funding as it plans US launch

Saleha Riaz
·3-min read
Shachar Bialick, founder and CEO of Curve, told Yahoo Finance the coronavirus pandemic proved the company’s product and team both are resilient. Photo: Curve
Shachar Bialick, founder and CEO of Curve, told Yahoo Finance the coronavirus pandemic proved the company’s product and team both are resilient. Photo: Curve

Curve, a London-based fintech that wants to create a “financial superapp,” said it secured $95m ($128m) from a group of international investors as part of a Series C round, as it looks to launch in the US and expand in Europe.

The funding round was led by IDC Ventures, Fuel Venture Capital and Vulcan Capital, with participation from OneMain Financial (OMF), an American personal finance company, and Novum Capital.

Shachar Bialick, founder and CEO of Curve, told Yahoo Finance the coronavirus pandemic proved the company’s product and team both are resilient, which is what convinced these companies to invest. He said consumers moved their transactions from point-of-sales to e-commerce, but they continued to use Curve.

Curve is an over-the-top banking platform, which allows customers to consolidate multiple cards into one smart card and app.

Bialick was keen to point out Curve is not a challenger bank, and in fact the rise in the popularity of challenger banks has meant more people use its product, as they end up with many cards and want to simplify their banking experience.

READ MORE: Challenger banks top UK customer satisfaction rankings

He also said the business persevered in a year of many unknowns, and employees accepted reduced salaries to save their colleagues’ jobs, all the while working hard behind the scenes to replace Wirecard, the German payment processor caught up in accounting scandals, as a service provider.

The fundraise brings the total investment in Curve to almost $175m and “makes the business one of only a select group of European fintechs to have raised significant funds against a backdrop of widespread economic disruption driven by COVID-19 restrictions,” the company said in a statement.

Curve will use the investment to expand internationally, including to the US, and to deepen its European reach.

Bialick said the US has thousands of banks and while there technology and products are good, fragmentation is a major problem. He estimates each consumer across the pond uses eight cards on average, making it a prime market for Curve.

Curve opened an office in Brooklyn in February earlier this year, but currently only has three employees there right now.

It now wants to hire 30 to 40 people within the next six months, across legal, compliance, engineering among other roles, with the aim to launch its product in the US towards the end of Q2 2021.

Bialick said the company doesn’t disclose metrics around active users (it was caught up in controversy in 2019 when a report suggested only 72,000 of its 500,000 customers are active) but currently has 2 million customers. These are split almost evenly between the UK and Europe.

It was reported last week that Curve has missed its deadline to file its financial report for the period ended 31 December 2019. While Bialick didn’t give a reason for this, the report was published Monday night.

The filing said Curve saw a Gross Transaction Value of £826m, up from £219m in 2018, a 277% increase year-on-year. It’s 2019 revenue was £5.9m, up 97% year-on-year.

The company posted a £26.5m loss after tax, but said this was “anticipated and in line with the business plan”.

Curve will also use its fresh funding to drive ongoing product innovation, notably of Curve Credit in early 2021. Curve Credit is a startup that will allow customers to pay for purchases in instalments.

In October, it announced the establishment of a subsidiary in Lithuania, and secured an EMI Licence to enable it to serve its European customers following Brexit on 31st December 2020. Bialick said the process has been simple for the bank and all its European customers are now served from the Lithuanian office.

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