Only 72k of Curves 500k are actually active (real) customers

The following was run in the press today… it leaves me very concerned as an investor. How about you?

Curve, the London based fintech, has come under fire after leaked figures show just 14% of their 500,000 customers are active users.

The fintech startup valued at £200 million in July, combines multiple credit and debit cards into one app and card. Customers can use the same smart card at POS by selecting which account they wish their funds to come out of through the app.

Earlier this month Curve announced the addition of Google Pay to their offering, meaning its users are able to link all their bank cards to Google Pay irrespective of the provider. Integrating Apple Pay looks to be high on Curve’s agenda.

Despite these feature announcements and a record-breaking £6 million crowdfunding raise in September, the leaked figures paint a slightly bleaker picture.

Two sources provided information to Business Insiderwhich suggested only 72,000 of Curve’s 500,000 customers have used their card once a month or more. curve has not shared these statistics publicly, and while the company spruiked optimistic growth projections in sales documents for the September raise, corroborating data for these expectations has been slim.

Certain disgruntled members of Curve’s crowdfunding cohort have lamented a lack of transparency and engagement from the startup.

Per UK regulation, Curve told the FT that it was not required to provide a detailed prospectus to crowdfunding investors when asked about their investment deck that lacked key-performance-indicator data or detail on expected revenue or profit margins

Investing in startups is risky! That’s why most people don’t do it. There’s always exaggeration, whether about what the product can do or how many people have it.

Anyway I guess as a beta tester you know the Curve team personally. It should be quite easy to settle the issue, as it’s just about definitions.

What you seem to be asking for is the number of people actually making payments as per the publicity.

So just ask your friends working there

  1. how many people have ever actually bought something with curve (is it 500,000?)

  2. how many have bought something in the last month (is it 500,000?)

  3. maybe also how many have spent over £1400 in the last month (is it 500,000?)

Whatever the answers are, you’re investing in what the business could become not what it is today, and all startups inflate numbers - it’s marketing.

Since everyone with a Curve account can become a Beta tester for most of us/them this isn’t the case.

Fair enough

Anyway, curve doesn’t need to share real data - no legal rules, no shortage of investors, no one wanting to see if they got what they paid for

I think people would be angrier about apple pay not being delivered than finding out they misunderstood some fundraising “facts”

Good time to be a startup!

I dont think the product itself is the problem. I think their communication is. The better question is

  1. how much did the active user number drop by when they announced paid subscriptions

  2. how much did the active user number drop by when they introduce 1.5%

  3. how much did the active user drop by when they prematurely launched amex

Dont get me wrong…curve did the right thing on the first 2 item. If i was an investor, i would be glad to know that curve is trying to fix their business model that is losing money.

But the way they did it showed zero compasion about customers. They are acting like an established business who goes,I’ll do what i want, I can afford to lose some customers, The customers will come back. They just do what they want with zero communications. Similarly to the 1.5% this time. Their protocol is. Launch first. Ignore complaints till it died off. They could have easily chose to, inform first, ignore complaints till it die off and then implement. I am sure this would have had a better outcome. But they just somehow chose not to.

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Very good points.
Can I also add that their customer service is none existent. I have raised an issue on the 6th of November . Received some copy pasted reply on the 10th, which wasn’t relevant to my questions , and no replies ever since .
Apple Pay is getting delayed and delayed.
Lack of Flux integration.
Raised charges for Airport Lounges.
Refund issues.
Fuel station issues.
Etc.

Curious - did you invest?

Tried , but missed out. I don’t much mind it now.

Does it matter much how many are actually active? As was mentioned before, startup investing is a risky business.
If you do it because of existing business, you’re in the wrong place.
Startups don’t get valued at 200mn because of an actually existing value, but because of their potential. Thats what you invest in.

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According to an interview with the CEO Curve now has “750,000 Users” - https://techround.co.uk/interviews/interview-with-curve-founder-shachar-bialick-the-rebundling-of-fintech/

Yes thats a valid point. I doubt if people read the legal warnings given at different stages in a Crowdfunding process. The legal framework tries everything possible to make it clear that its risky.

It’s true that you do risk your money but it’s a bit of a shock to hear that less than 20% (or 10% of the reported 750k) of card holders use it.

I would be interested to understand the thinking behind the emails offering £5 of points if you use your card.

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I’m curious, what is a healthy % of active users? and what is the number which they have to be at?

Also what other metrics would be meaningful in the assessment? Perhaps average transaction value? Type / category of transaction? Thinking out loud here

I don’t think there’s necessarily a healthy percentage. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with 14% (though many companies have goals far higher than that). If you have low incremental cost for new users, then it can make sense to sign up lots of users even if only a small proportion end up actually using your product. Without knowing Curves cost structure, we can’t really evaluate what a healthy proportion would be. For me, the issue is that it makes the top-line “user” figures they quote utterly meaningless, which is compounded by the fact that those are the only figures they give. If the figures suggested here are true, the honest thing to do would be to quote active users, not total sign ups.

Other metrics that I’d like to see are things like user retention (how many users are still active 3/6/12/24 months after signing up), number of cards used per user (how many people actually care about the multi-card feature?), proportion of transactions at cashback retailers, average transaction value etc. Unfortunately, I don’t think we’ll ever see any of these numbers, and we’ll just be left with the totally meaningless “how many people have activated their card since the beginning of time”.

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I do agree with most of your points. However I do think that some people here who invested over a crowdfunding platform (!) and hence hold only an incremental share should not overestimate their status as “investor”.
It really isn’t more than a badge. I would like to see Curve use their resources and time spent on improving the product and not on putting out PR fires set by their own petty “investors”.
Some of these comments here and especially in some other topics really make me question the motivation of those “investors”, when it’s all about the perks and “when do I get my investors card”…

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It is a real shame, since Curve is a unique business model and for the time being, there is nothing quite like it - which in the business world we know niches are quickly copied. As such, there is a real opportunity to center the market before other companies start offering a similar service to people.

The app needs a complete overhaul. We are talking a fresh and crisp design, with advanced account management features including; card security (contactless, swipe, ATM and online management) and improved UI to indicate spending habits and data. There must also be automation of subscription changes; card replacements and overall reducing the need for customers to wait for a response from support. A cashback UI with detailed information on earnings with the ability to reset retailer options per 6 month cycle.

3D-S must be introduced as standard for card payments in compliance with new legislation. There must be better realtime communication between card usage and app. Random security checks, prompting the user to approve or decline certain high-risk transactions through the app. In addition, there should be tailored options for cards which are detected to be credit; allowing customers to disable transactions with an MCC related to cash (to avoid unexpected charges and interest with provider) or request manual approval each time such a transaction is taking place to ensure that the person is fully aware.

Curve’s progress over the last 12 months has been incredibly slow and their app updates fail to improve user experience or add new features. Their most recent profile section update failed to make any noticeable improvement to user convenience and was wrongly promoted as a design update, leading customers to believe that the app had been modernized.

I feel that investors are at a real risk at the moment, unless Curve go about implementing these changes before another company takes lead and puts them to shame.

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At the moment they don’t have a business. Even if they had 100k subscribers paying £10/month, that wouldn’t justify a 200m valuation. I doubt they are even close to that. I also doubt they have a significant number paying £1k + a month which would equate to roughly £10 in fees? Probably lower than that. But let’s say they do have a turnover of 10m and using a very generous multiplier of 7-8x would not get you anywhere near the 200m valuation.
They need to get people on the subscription and I’m ready to sign up and move from Black Legacy away but make it worth it. The current Offer is very unattractive and I’m better off using a free amex BA card for my daily spending. Apple Pay would be a start. The send money feature is useless. You already have guys doing this very well. It is not adding any value at the moment. I don’t need the mediocre? Travel insurance unfortunately. I have this covered through my job etc. The lounge access seems expensive as well according to people here on the forum.

Remove any related fx charges, add Apple Pay and Amex on a subscription and you have a solid product I would think. This would move me to your ‘premium’ offering at least.

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Cannot see the article as it requires membership…

Here’s a clue; if they did have 500,000 members already, I am sure either one of their social media platforms would have more than 10,000 (average) followers. If you use Curve, you’d at least follow one of them for updates. It was clear from the start they didn’t have this many, but why would that matter? They have the funding to grow and support, I can’t see why this would be an issue…

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