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On the money: Our investment in Curve

We are very excited to announce our participation in Curve’s Series A round. Curve is building a money hub that uses an all-cards-in-one Curve MasterCard to enable users to spend from all their accounts, and a mobile app to manage their money in one place.

In essence it is a cloud platform for all your debit and credit cards, and perhaps other sources in the future. On the app side, users can control and track their money and connect it to other web services.

To make it all happen, the Curve team has built an impressive payments stack that is fast, reliable and secure. The platform has been going through a successful beta exclusive to business users since its launch, and this funding will take things to the next level.

To understand why we invested in Curve, however, you’ll have to look further than their nifty set of features. ‘Go-back-in-time’ is my personal space-age favourite, it allows a user to change the funding source on a transaction up to two weeks after paying. Accidentally charge a business expense to your personal card? No longer an issue.

The fundamental problem that Curve solves is larger than even the most annoying expense mishap, but this problem hasn’t always existed. Not too long ago, we used to go to our bank for nearly every product or service related to our financial lives. Need to: Set up a savings account? Bank branch. Some travel money? Count on your bank. Need a loan? Your bank is there for you. A credit card? Still happy to oblige.

Despite incredible customer loyalty, banks have developed the unfortunate reputation of swindling those very customers (at worst) or offering them substandard service (at best). Often too, different products from the same providers are not properly integrated with each other.

Banks became complacent because customers couldn’t face the hassle of switching, and there wasn’t much in the way of better choice anyway. Cue the perfect storm of technological and regulatory change: The Current Account Switching Service, PSD2, IFR, P2P lending, P2P FX, distributed ledgers, bank APIs. Boom.

A quick glance at the size of the common wallet today illustrates the scale of consumer choice and product fragmentation. You might bank with HSBC but alongside your debit card, carry a Lloyds credit card to rack up those Avios. You also might have a Revolut card in there because you’ve had enough of your bank’s insane FX fees. You might use Apple Pay to buy your Prêt every now and then to feel like you are in the future before lunching on a bland sandwich (tuna and cucumber baguette). Your employer probably banks with yet another provider and you carry a separate card for business expenses. If you run a small business you may even be managing different accounts across borders and have to remember yet another set of credentials.

Turning to your phone’s home screen, you have one if not two banking apps. Another one to keep track of your credit card bill. Your ISA might be from Moneybox and you use Expensify to keep track of your work expenses, PingIt for the odd P2P transaction and CurrencyFair for larger foreign transactions. Having a look at your bookmarks bar, it’s probably the same story again — to cut a long story short: the unbundling of the bank has created a lot of brilliant services that provide great value to users, but it has become a mess to manage and find the best products and services for your needs.

Hello, Curve.

A money hub that simplifies people’s financial lives by unifying it on a single platform where users can see, spend, save and send their money.

Curve had all the ingredients to peak our interest: A technically brilliant product loved by its early users, a team with the energy and drive to out-iterate the market led by founder with vision and dynamism to match, and a solution that responds perfectly to this ‘connected finance’ thesis — a potential category-definer, in our eyes.

Today, we are thrilled to be adding Curve to our portfolio of recent investments and to be joining them on their mission to simplify and unify people’s financial lives through technology.

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