BankTechFintech

London-based Curve raises $95 million, plans U.S. expansion

The six-year-old fintech combines multiple cards and accounts into one smart card and app

London-based Curve has raised $95 million in a Series C round, and the fintech plans on using the investment to expand internationally — including to the U.S. this summer.

Curve, which combines multiple cards and accounts into one smart card and app, will use the funds in part to deepen its reach in Europe and “drive product innovation.” The fundraise brings the startup’s total funding to nearly $175 million since its 2015 inception.

The round was led by Madrid-based IDC Ventures, Miami-based Fuel Venture Capital and Vulcan Capital, which is the investment arm of the estate of Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul G. Allen.

During the tumultuous year of 2020, Curve reached a couple of big milestones, including reaching 2 million customers and launching new products and partnerships. For instance, in February 2020 Curve opened its first U.S. office in Brooklyn, New York which serves as a base for its “Stateside operations.” Also, Curve extended its offering to include Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay for its European customers. Additionally, Curve teamed up with Plaid to bring open banking to the UK.

Curve’s banking platform has a smart card that allows customers to “supercharge” their legacy banks without leaving their bank. The company is in 31 markets across the UK and Europe and Curve supports Mastercard and Visa networks.

Via email Amanda Orson, Curve VP head of North America, said the U.S. “represents a huge opportunity” for the company.

“Not only is it one of the largest markets in the world, but it is also one where the existing financial services system is ripe for disruption,” she wrote. “The U.S. has some of the highest levels of card ownership globally, coupled with the increasing fragmentation of consumers’ banking relationships. This presents a significant market opportunity for Curve to help customize its product for the U.S.”

Orson said the company plans to use its new capital in part to hire “exceptional product, regulatory, and credit talent with experience bringing a leading fintech product to market in the United States.”

She said investor Fuel Venture Capital will serve as an important strategic partner.

“Fuel’s leadership team, helmed by former Merrill Lynch executive Jeff Ransdell, has a broad network and extensive experience working with America’s largest and most storied financial institutions,” Orson wrote.

The company in general will use the money to “launch more products, with more features, and carry out more marketing,” she added.

“Our products and partnerships in 2020 proved very successful in Europe. In a backdrop of COVID-19, in which Europe was hard hit, Europeans were hungry for more touch-free ways of paying,” Orson wrote. “Curve is contactless, and this access allowed formerly non-contactless access to become contactless. Curve’s partnerships with Google Pay and Apple Pay allowed Europeans to access their banks, without having to switch to new banks, to take advantage of Curve, making new adoption more seamless.”

While she declined to disclose revenue, Orson said that Curve saw “much more than £2bn in the value of transactions” processed by its platform in 2020 – up from around £1bn at the end of 2019. In the same period, the company’s customer base doubled from 1 million to 2 million.

Curve lets customers stay with their banks while also taking advantage of new financial technology and connecting institutions with innovation, according to Fuel Venture managing director and founding partner Ransdell.

“Their collaborative model has been immensely successful in Europe and we are confident that it will prove equally so in the US, where physical cards are still dominant,” Ransdell said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Vulcan Capital’s Rick Roberts said in a statement that Curve is redefining banking going forward with its financial products.

“Their friction-free offering is coming at the ideal time for American consumers, who are looking for safer payment options and greater financial control in the wake of the pandemic,” Roberts said. “We are excited to be part of the next phase in Curve’s ambitious journey.”

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