Fintech firm Curve is aiming to raise $50 million in funding, its CEO told CNBC in an exclusive interview, as it looks to get some cash to boost its aim to become the “Amazon of banking.”
It’s common for people to have several bank accounts and debit and credit cards. Curve has created an app that brings all a person’s various accounts together and allows users to spend money using one card.
But the important point is that it is not a bank.
Shachar Bialick, CEO of Curve, told CNBC that the company has started a funding round with the aim of raising $50 million.
Bialick said the three-year-old firm is looking to become more of a platform to offer services from various providers, which is why it hasn’t applied for a banking license.
“We believe that your bank is doing a great job. Because when I say that you need to ask me the job the bank needs to do. The only job we think banks are good at, are exactly the job the regulator set them to do — take deposits and move the money back into the economy. The banks are doing a great job keeping the money safe,” Bialick said.
“All the other stuff you don’t need a banking license to do that. You can give loans, can give FX, can give pensions, give trading, without being a bank. The only reason you want to become a bank and take deposits, the only reasons to become a bank is when they think they want to provide their own lending from their own balance sheet.”
Curve is part of a breed of fast-growing fintech firms coming out of Europe. But many other companies in the space have looked to become challenger banks trying to disrupt other lenders. Companies like Monzo, Starling and N26, which recently launched its expansion in Britain, have full-blown banking licenses. They are offering current accounts and other features like zero-fee foreign exchange transactions to acquire customers.
Bialick said that venture capital funds, concerned about the rise of the plethora of challenger banks, have paid attention to Curve’s activities.
‘We are seeing a huge concern from VCs. They all believe challenger banks won’t be able to become that interface, the operating system of money,” Bialick told CNBC.
That’s why he referred to Curve as the “Amazon of banking” — he wants it to become a marketplace for financial services, and that’s the CEO’s plan to make money.
One example he gave is how Curve could work with a bank. Say a user buys an expensive $1,000 item using their Curve card, which is linked to their credit card, the company could offer a lower-priced loan than the interest it would pay with its credit account. That loan that is offered by Curve would be provided by a bank. Curve would take a cut of that transaction.
Compared to other fintech firms, Curve is smaller. Revolut, for example, has 2 million users, while Monzo has 1 million. But Bialick said that users are very engaged and that the funding would be used to expand the product.
“Although we don’t need the money right now, there’s a great opportunity in the market to grow fast. There is a great opportunity to grow across Europe and even break out of Europe.”