Confirmed: UK challenger bank Monzo raises £19.5M with one more £2.5M in crowdfunding planned

Monzo, one of a number of so-named “challenger” banks in the U.K. aiming to re-invent the current account, has disclosed details of its new funding round.

Confirming most of the details from our report earlier this week, the startup has raised £19.5 million from U.S.-primarily based Thrive Capital, London’s Passion Capital, and Orange Digital Ventures, the venture arm of telco Orange. They are investing £13 million, £5 million, and £1.five million, respectively.

The London-based organization is also planning to raise an extra £2.5 million via yet another equity crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube. The combined round pegs Monzo at a pre-funds valuation of £65 million.

Given how speedily Monzo reached its earlier £1 million crowdfunding raise — which spectacularly closed in 96 seconds — it shouldn’t have any problem putting this new offering. In fact, the startup is creating distinct plans to deal with the anticipated demand:

Monzo will host a pre-registration period from February 28 – March 14 when any of its consumers can express their interest in investing. The total quantity pledged will be displayed in real-time on Monzo’s web site, followed by a ballot to randomly choose the men and women who’ll be capable to authorise their investments from March 14.

The new combined funding, which will bring total raised to £35 million, will be utilised by Monzo as it readies for a full bank launch later this year. As it exists today, Monzo’s more than one hundred,000 users get access to a pre-paid MasterCard and accompanying iOS and Android apps. It provides the ability to do issues like track your spending in true time, view geolocation-marked transactions on a map, view spending by category and get a graphical timeline of your general expenditure.

Once it has launched a fully-fledged existing account, Monzo says it will initially make cash by supplying “transparent overdrafts with no hidden fees or charges,” but plans to diversify away from conventional banking company models in the longer term. “The company will aim to give its consumers one particular-click access to a broad range of financial merchandise from third parties as part of a move towards ‘banking as a marketplace’,” it says.

Meanwhile, as we noted when TechCrunch broke this story on Monday, Monzo is not the 1st European fintech to receive backing from New York-headquartered Thrive Capital. The VC firm, founded by Josh Kushner, lately led a €30 million Series C round in German fintech Raisin, which gives pan-European savings accounts.

Nevertheless, it does leave the door open for Monzo to launch in the U.S. sometime in the future. And despite the fact that this isn’t a concrete plan or likely to come about any time quickly, co-founder and CEO Tom Blomfield has made no secret of his ambition to bring Monzo across the pond at some point, one thing he re-iterated in a very brief get in touch with last evening. He has previously spent some time living in New York, which is really how he very first came into make contact with with the folk at Thrive Capital.

Listen to TechCrunch’s recent interview with Monzo co-founder Tom Blomfield


On the internet Korean beauty retailer Memebox raises $60M much more to sharpen its focus on the U.S.

Memebox, a Y Combinator startup that sells Korean beauty items in the U.S. and Asia, has raised $ 60 million. The cash is an extension of the firm’s Series C round which initially closed at $ 65.95 million in August.

The company mentioned the cash will go towards continuing its operations and growing its international footprint. Korea, its home industry, remains its biggest nation for sales, but the firm is growing its concentrate on China and, in specific, the U.S.. Founder and CEO Dino Ha lately relocated to San Francisco from Seoul.

The new funds requires Memebox to much more than $ 160 million in investor funds because it was founded in 2012. The round extension was put with each other by a range of existing and new backers, which consist of Goodwater Capital, Altos Ventures, Cowboy Ventures, Mousse Partners, Formation Group, Funders Club, Pear Ventures and Cota Capital. Janet Gurwitch, a partner with Castanea Partners and former CEO of cosmetics brand Laura Mercier, also invested and will turn into a member of Memebox’s advisory board.

Memebox began as a beauty box service, delivering a selection of cosmetics and products each month for a fixed charge, but as pioneers of business model such as Birchbox struggle, it evolved into a makeup and cosmetics shop. Thanks to the rise of K-Pop and Korean drama series, the firm has been able to surf a global wave of interest in Korea to expand its client base.

Today, Memebox sells its own brand items as nicely as these from third parties and market names. It operates physical shops in Korea, but is predominantly focused on on-line. Certainly, it claims that, worldwide, an average of 88 percent of purchases come by way of its mobile — that figure rises to 94 % for Asia-based customers. It mentioned its annual revenues are more than $ one hundred million, but it is not but profitable.


Hopper raises $61 million far more for its airfare prediction app

Airfare prediction app Hopper has grown from 1 million downloads to more than 10 million in the course of a year – a trajectory that is permitted it to pull in $ 82 million CAD (~$ 61.2 million US) in additional funding to continue to grow its company. The Series C round was led by North American pension fund manager, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, and consists of participation from existing investors, Brightspark Ventures, Accomplice, OMERS, Investissement Québec and BDC Capital IT Venture Fund.

Hopper has now raised $ 104 million CAD (~$ 77.7 million US) to date. Its final round of $ 16 million was just this spring, when the app had just more than 3 million downloads.

The startup competes within a crowded travel market exactly where incumbent brands are consolidating, as with Priceline’s get of Kayak, and Expedia’s acquisition of Travelocity and Orbitz. This gives Hopper some hefty competition when it comes to its mobile-only airfare cost prediction and booking application application.

Nevertheless, the business says it grown its sales by 23 times over the past year, and is now promoting $ 1 million in flights per day.

Furthermore, its customers have tracked 18 million trips on its app, which is getting installed more than a million occasions per month.


Hopper’s secret sauce is its forecasting software, which the business claims can predict future flight rates with up to 95 percent accuracy a year in advance.

This information is put to use in a consumer-friendly mobile application, where consumers can track trips, learn about other travel savings, and be alerted when it’s the greatest time to book. When prices fall, Hopper sends out push notifications to convert the app’s users to airfare buyers.

The app’s use of push notifications is what’s been assisting to increase sales. These days, over 20 million notifications are sent out monthly, and 90 % of bookings are from these alerts.

With the extra funds, Hopper plans to continue its international expansion plans. Currently, the app sells tickets in 126 nations, and it’s aiming to develop further in over 20 nations across Latin America, Europe and Asia in early 2017. The firm will also use the funds to grow its group from 40 to 120 employees in Montreal and Cambridge by the finish of next year.


StudySoup raises $1.7M to assist students purchase and sell class notes

San Francisco-based education startup StudySoup, which calls itself “a peer-to-peer learning marketplace,” announced it has raised $ 1.7 million in seed funding.

The firm works as an on-line study group exactly where students can sell or purchase class notes and study guides. “We realized that a lot of students come to college on very distinct levels,” Sieva Kozinsky, 26, co-founder and CEO, mentioned in a telephone interview with TechCrunch. “They’re all anticipated to hit the ground operating and to get on the same page, and sadly it leads to a lot of failures, simply because folks are entirely unprepared and there is not the correct assistance there.”

Logo-green-300pxKozinsky mentioned that the first spark for StudySoup was ignited when he was taking a Biology 1 class as a sophomore at UC Santa Barbara. According to him, there had been 500 students in that class and the teacher would speak actually rapidly. “Unfortunately, I was not capable to listen and take notes at the very same time,” Kozinsky recalled. “One day, I looked over to the young lady who was sitting to my side, and she had completely structured notes in distinct colors, extremely nicely organized.”

After that, Kozinsky and fellow UCSB undergrad Jeff Silverman, co-founder of StudySoup, discovered that a lot more than one in 3 students drop out college because of monetary motives or because they don’t get the help they need to have. This was the case for one of Kozinsky’s roommates, as effectively.

Even if numerous of the bigger universities offer you academic help to their students, these solutions are not obtainable everywhere. What can genuinely support students, according to Kozinsky, is understanding from their peers.

On 1 side of the marketplace — the provide — there are individuals who give the content material: exceptional note takers who want to make some extra cash by promoting their notes. StudySoup calls them “Elite Notetakers.” Students need to have to apply to grow to be Elite Notetakers, and complete a training about what kind of supplies they ought to post and how frequently.

According to Kozinsky, Elite Notetakers can earn from $ 400 to $ 500 per course by posting once a week, for a total of about 15 pieces of content material. The firm shares income with the Elite Notetakers. “We keep about 30 % of the income they make,” Kozinsky said. “But unlike Airbnb or Uber, we supply a assure for students. If you just sign up and you go by means of the education, you are guaranteed to earn income. And every time somebody uses your notes, you’re going to unlock new revenue.”

On the other side of the organization — the demand — there are students from a variety of backgrounds, from strugglers to leading performers. They can search notes by note taker, class or professor. Subscriptions expense from $ 11 to $ 30 a month.

StudySoup began on 3 campuses in 2014. One was the campus where the co-founders were studying, UC Santa Barbara. The other people were the University of Oregon and the University of Washington. “We picked schools that were comparable to UC Santa Barbara in size and demographics, but also that had been across different state lines,” Kozinsky explained. “We wanted to make positive that students require this support everywhere.”

According to the firm, two,000 Elite Notetakers, 150 schools and more than 500,000 students are part of the StudySoup network. StudySoup is primarily employed by undergrads, but 20 percent of users are graduate students pursuing healthcare or law school.

Participants in this round of funding have been 1776 DC, Canyon Creek Capital, 500 Startups and a couple of angels such as John Katzman, Jake Gibson and Leonard Lodish. “Our focus at StudySoup is developing an academic service division on the web,” said Kozinsky. “We wanted to make positive that our investors had been aligned with this type of long-term vision.”

Thanks to the $ 1.7 million, the organization is going to expand its item group by hiring a couple much more engineers and to invest in advertising and marketing and advertising to let students nationwide know about StudySoup.

“In the subsequent five years, we want to continue our expansion across diverse college campuses. Also, we want to give new goods to our existing students, so they can hold creating income on the platform,” Kozinsky mentioned. For example, a flash card study tool, which is presently in beta.

Featured Image: StudySoup