Curve have filed their accounts covering up to end 2019 which we can see here: https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/09523903/filing-history
They restated their accounting period by a few months, and still filed it 11 days late (causing a rebuke from the FCA) to ensure it was filed only after their latest funding round was completed, which made me wonder what they didn’t want analysed in detail beforehand… so I had a little look
Firstly, I have to say I am really, really impressed with these accounts. They have spent £120k on a proper audited set of accounts, and I think managed to get their prim and proper auditors to sign-off on a typical set of Curve comms, which are very misleading when you first look at it. I’d appreciate another set of eyes on the document as I’m no expert, but it seems to say that due to a change of accounting period, they are comparing a 14 month period (Nov 18 - end Dec 19) with their income over a 12 month period (Nov 17 - end Oct 18):
Assuming that they are comparing 14 months to the previous 12 (which is a bit cheeky as their crowdfunding investors might not notice the small print) I’ve reduced the 2019 numbers by 13% to make a fairer comparison. Obviously not exact, but eye-opening:
The subscriber numbers are an estimate assuming an annual fee of £100.
Would be good to get your take on the numbers, but there’s a few things that jump out to me.
It’s a great increase in users - to 860k - but well below the 1m target that Curve were aiming for and suggested to crowdfunders just 3 months previously.
They nearly quadrupled their user numbers, but note the money they got from interchange fees only went up by 50%. The value of all the transactions went up almost in line with user numbers, but the shift from giving everyone business cards to personal cards has slashed their profit here - looks like it’s 0.5% of spend.
In late 2019, their CEO was really clear that their average active user spends about £1459 per month. With £708m being spent on Curve in 2019, that means they count about 40,000 users as ‘active’. Doesn’t really match up to their 860,000 user base - the real average spend of all users is £69 per month.
Looking at their subscription income, and assuming an average spend of £100 per year, then they have nearly 11,000 premium subscribers - meaning 98.5% of users are not paying any fees.
Another page in their account says that 70% of their income comes from UK users. It’s clear from the year on year trends that the business would struggle to scale in the UK now it can’t give personal users business cards (with higher interchange fees) and will need to find new revenue streams - which it seems to be planning to do by offering Klarna-style credit (although this was announced about 18 months ago and hasn’t yet launched) and getting users to upgrade so as to pay HMRC.
The new $95m funding they announced today is clearly marked at a US entry - where interchange fees aren’t limited in the same way they are in Europe. Perhaps they’re using the last few years as a way of making the tech reliable and understanding the customer support needed, and are now pivoting to a new market to focus on profit?