Curve’s surprising crowdfunding

Curve is a banking app that allows you to collate all of your bank cards onto one smart card. Think a wallet which is not a wallet, but is also kept in your wallet.

Since its launch in April 2018, the fintech product has proved popular, with the company citing over 500,000 users to date, with the hope of reaching one million by the year end.

In aid of its grand plans for bank account unification, Curve raised £43m in Series B funding from names such as Gauss Ventures, Oxford Capital and Connect Ventures in mid July. The valuation — £159m — put it firmly in the top tier of the most valuable UK fintechs, alongside companies such as Monzo, Starling Bank and TransferWise.

So it was surprising that in August, Curve decided to return to the capital markets. But this time, it wasn’t institutional investors committing cash. But retail punters.

In an echo of Monzo’s crowdfunding last year, Curve announced it was seeking £1m from investors via crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. The valuation was the same as investors in the Series B round received.

The crowdfunding went swimmingly. Within 42 minutes of the campaign opening on September 3, Curve managed to raise four times as much as it hoped — yes, £4m — according to Finextra. The round eventually closed with £6m committed from 9,591 investors, the company told us.

The story may just sound to you like one of a buzzy product with ardent followers, but the Curve crowdfunding does feel exceptional for one particular reason: disclosure.

Curve’s investment deck for the raise was pretty opaque. The 31 page document, which was shared with FT Alphaville, did not contain one set of financial metrics relating to the company. Indeed, the “financials” page of the document consisted of a title page, and one slide outlining how it proposed to make money:

There was no discussion of the sort of metrics an investor might want to know, such as customer churn, cash flow, margins or management’s preferred key performance indicators.

 

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