Curve raises $55m for mobile payment app that combines multiple bank cards
A start-up offering a card that combines different credit cards and bank accounts has raised $55m (£44m) in the latest major investment in the UK's crowded financial technology scene.
Curve links up different banking apps, meaning users can track payments from several different cards at once, or choose which bank card they want to pay with using their Curve card or contactless payment on their smartphone.
The deal brings the total amount raised by Curve to more than $75m, valuing the start-up at around $250m.
The investment comes from London and Berlin-based Gauss Ventures, as well as previous backers including Santander's InnoVentures fund. Other new investors included Outward VC, asset manger Investec's venture fund.
The start-up has expanded to 150 staff in London and Bristol and is planning to launch its app in six European countries later this year and in the US by 2020.
Shachar Bialick, Curve chief executive, said the business had grown significantly since the start of the 2019 and planned to add 100 new jobs over the coming year.
Curve launched in full in 2018 after a period where it was only available to some business users. A change to Mastercard's payments rules in February that year allowed it to add thousands more ordinary consumer users. It now has around 500,000 customers, a spokesman said.
“We had to keep our heads down to get enough stability from a product perspective,” Bialick said. “In 2018 we were at 30 or 40 people and now we are over 150 people. We agreed it was the right time to raise a significant new investment to position us and allow us to have the runway for our vision.”
Its technology includes a payment card that lets users swap payments between different cards and accounts, including retroactively changing payments between different bank accounts up to two weeks in the past. It also offers spending updates and monitoring like other rival finance apps.
The deal comes as a wave of British start-ups offering digital banking services and payments continue to attract investor interest.
Monzo, which offers a debit card and mobile banking app, raised £113m in funding earlier this year, while Starling Bank has brought in £175m in investment and grants.
Curve's business model, however, eschews becoming a fully fledged bank, instead relying on fees from some cash withdrawals and subscription fees for cards with added perks and cashback offers. But its expansion efforts have run into challenges, including a dispute with American Express, which was previously included in an early version of its services.
However American Express withdrew in January, leading Curve to hire lawyers and threaten legal action against the US financial firm.
Britain’s fintechs have raised $1.3bn so far this year, according to PitchBook data compiled for The Telegraph, putting them on track for another record year.