London fintech startup Curve has picked up another $3m in funding to replace all the different payment cards in your wallet with just one.
The firm says it is now course to finalise a “sizeable” Series A round in December.
New backers include Citymapper-backers Connect Ventures, Envoy founder Paul Townsend and Kabbee investor Samos Investments.
Curve says its total raised now stands at $5m – including the $2m seed funding it announced in December.
Its investors already includes a roster of notable figures in the fintech space: TransferWise co-founder Taavet Hinrikus, Azimo and Tandem co-founder Ricky Knox , Ed Wray who co-founded Betfair plus Seedcamp, Speedinvest and the co-founders of Google Wallet.
Payments is a busy space, so here’s a quick refresh on what problem Curve is trying to solve. The pitch is that while most of us aren’t about to stop using cards any time soon, there’s no reason why we should have to carry all of them around with us in our wallets.
Users can scan in an unlimited number of cards and then pick a dominant one to pay with at the point of sale. Payments then appear in a feed within the app to help users manage spending.
One way to think of it is as a similar concept to mobile wallets like Apple Pay, except in the shape of a bank card. A key advantage is that there is no battery required, which means there’s no concern over phone death cutting off your ability to pay like there is with mobile wallets.
(Curve is not to be confused with Kerv of course, which is also a London fintech startup, but is building something quite different in the shape of a wearable payments ring.)
The firm hit less positive headlines earlier this year after American Express ‘paused’ its integration with the company. One of the firm’s big claims had been that Amex customers could pay in places that do not accept Amex payments. The firm says talks are still ongoing with Amex.
Nonetheless, Curve says it has processed £15m worth of spending across 80 different currencies and aims to launch its consumer card next year plus new features including loyalty points.
It’s aimed at small business owners and ‘solo-preneurs’, aiming to ride growth in the growing community of freelancers and self-employed.
As well as high-profile backers, another reason Curve piqued interest pre-launch is its founding team, which includes Tom Foster Carter (previously COO of kids prepaid app Osper) and Schachar Bialick (an Israeli entrepreneur whose previous ventures range from medical marijuana to wireless tech).
“Curve is exactly on-track in executing the vision we had almost two years ago, to consolidate a fragmented financial world into a single platform,” says Bialick in the press release. “We’re already receiving fantastic user feedback and unparalleled business results in terms of retention, engagement and revenues.”
“We’ve started conversations with leading VCs on securing growth capital to push into the consumer space, and further develop the platform.”
So Curve wants to reduce the amount of cards we carry with…another card? Yes and no. Think of the concept behind mobile wallets like Apple Pay where you upload multiple cards and pay through one portal – except rolled into a physical card and accompanying app.
The idea being that it offers the convenience of services like Apple Pay, but in a format that is widely accepted and familiar to consumers and businesses.
It’s not a new idea, with 2007-founded Dynamics another example of another company trying to combine multiple cards in one (albeit a battery-powered version). Coin had a similar idea and Plastc is another.
As ever, however, it’s not the idea itself but the execution of it that matters and the space is still there for the taking.
The funding round totalled $61m, and will used to finance the company's global expansion plans.
Monzo also revealed its latest funding round last week.
A further £2.5m is expected to be raised from crowdfunding on Tuesday.
Funding Circle has perhaps started 2017 in a better way than most. The London-based lending platform that connects small businesses with investors has raised $100m (£82m) in equity investment.