MoneyLion, the New York mobile bank, raised $160 million in funding, giving it a valuation of nearly $1 billion.
The fundraising which included $60 million in previously unannounced financing and $100 million in a Series C round, was co-led by Edison Partners and Greenspring Associates. It also included a strategic investment from Capital One. To date, MoneyLion has raised $200 million in equity funding. With the latest round its nearing unicorn status, a person familiar with the company said.
MoneyLion is a mobile bank that tries to differentiate itself from the growing pack of digital-only banks by charging customers membership fees so they can access a smorgasbord of financial services. There’s banking, investing, credit monitoring, cash advances, cashback rewards, and loyalty programs. The plus membership comes with a monthly fee which consumers reduce by logging into the app daily. MoneyLion is going after the 70% of Americans who are living paycheck to paycheck and don’t or can’t pay all the fees traditional banks charge. All of the services exist but Dee Choubey, founder and CEO of MoneyLion argues no one has put it all together like the fintech has.
“Going forward as customer behavior changes and how they interact with all things digital, the idea of being the Costco or Netflix of the financial industry is an important theme,” said Choubey. “We’re seeing a lot of strategic VCs get excited about our business model.”
Since launching in 2013, MoneyLion has saved customers more than $7 million in banking fees, generated more than $12 million in cashback rewards and helped 70% of its customers increase their credit scores by 30 points. The company said membership accounts and daily average transactions have grown at an annualized rate of more than 1,000% and that more than 5 million customers use the app.
The company is also focused on educating consumers and has a customer base that skews largely toward the novice. Ninety-four percent of its customers are new to investing. “Fintech’s job is to revolutionize banking,” said the executive. “We’re not a robo advisor or place to borrow money. Rather its a community getting financial literacy.”
The New York mobile bank will use the funding to grow its customer base in the U.S. and add more members. It also plans to expand its product offering including 0% APR daily cash advances available to customers any day of the week, a high-yield cash account, and a stock trading platform that lets customers invest in individual companies.
The fintech banking space has been getting crowded in recent months with domestic and international startups vying for consumers’ business. They are launching fee-free checking accounts and are offering consumers sleek debit cards. They are also raising money left and right, garnering huge valuations along the way. Just last month Monzo, the UK digital bank that counts more than two million consumers as customers, launched in the U.S., rolling out its debit card and mobile app to users during in-person events. Monzo splashed on the scene in the UK back in 2015. Today it has about 850 employees and a valuation of more than £1 billion.
In the same month Dave, the mobile personal finance app that helps people avoid overdraft fees, rolled out Dave Banking. Dave Banking helps customers build their credit by automatically reporting everyday payments including rent and utility bills. The service, which costs $120 a year, is free to users who deposit their paycheck into the Dave Banking account. The checking account also provides customers with a $100 no-interest overdraft protection, available regardless of the customer’s current credit score. Dave raised $110 million in debt led by Victory Park Capital. Co-founder and chief executive Jason Wilk said previously the company is in talks with investors about raising more capital at a valuation of close to $1 billion.
Meanwhile, last week N26, the German digital-only bank with operations in the U.S. raised $170 million to add to its Series D funding round, giving it a valuation of $3.5 billion. It is now one of the most valuable startups in Europe and is among the top ten most valuable fintechs around the world.
It is funding rounds for digital banks like those that has Chris Sugden, a managing partner at Edison Partners questioning all the money being thrown at mobile-only banks. He said Edison Partners co-led the round in MoneyLion because the fintech brings it all together rather than just focusing on one area of financial services. “Part of the big thesis here is the rebundling idea that consumers would like to get as much if not all their financial services in one place,” said the venture capitalist. “Overall consumer dissatisfaction with the traditional banking services, fees and the cost value provided this window.”
Date: August 01, 2019