Open banking-powered fintech Currensea has secured £2.4m from leading Venture Capitalists Blackfinch Ventures and 1818 Venture Capital which will be used to accelerate the fintech’s ambitious growth plans.
Currensea – the money-saving travel card, which removes the bank fees associated with foreign exchange by linking directly to users’ existing current accounts – has grown rapidly this year. Cardholder numbers have more than doubled to 45,000, while a crowdfunding campaign in June successfully raised £2m via the Seedrs platform, smashing the original target of £1m in just two hours.
The investment by Blackfinch Ventures, which has a 20-year investment track record, and start-up specialist 1818 Venture Capital brings the total raised this year to £4.55m, while fundraising since launch has now reached nearly £11m.
This investment round will be used to fund additional hiring and drive Currensea’s ambitious plans to acquire 300,000 users by 2024. It will also allow the company to continue to expand its ‘powered by’ offering which allows charities and businesses to offer branded cards enabling users to not only save money when spending abroad but also round up UK spending to donate to good causes.
Dr Reuben Wilcock, Head of Ventures at Blackfinch said: “We were hugely impressed by the drive and ambition of the Currensea team, who have created the UK’s first direct debit travel card. It is exciting to be backing such a forward-thinking firm. The Currensea team has already built an impressive business and we’re delighted to be supporting their growth ambitions.”
Richard Avery-Wright, founder of 1818 Venture Capital, said: “We continually strive to invest in amazing founders who are passionate about disrupting the status quo in a positive and ethical way, such that society as a whole benefits. Our investment in Currensea exemplifies this brilliantly.
“We are thrilled that a Fintech company, such as Currensea, has successfully combined the convenience of open banking, significant FX savings when travelling abroad, and a seamless giving function to deliver on its strong societal purpose.”
Currensea’s solution is also now more relevant than ever in the midst of the cost-of-living crisis. UK travellers are currently wasting £2.7bn in foreign exchange fees every year by using their bank cards abroad. Currensea enables users to cut out these charges while still being able to make overseas transactions directly and securely from their existing current account, without the hassle of opening a new bank account or worrying about keeping a prepaid card topped up.
James Lynn, Co-Founder of Currensea, comments: “This latest investment – which follows a hugely successful crowdfunding campaign earlier this year – is further evidence that there is a strong demand for an alternative to the foreign exchange trap that we’ve all been forced to endure for too long.
“Almost half of our Seedrs investors are Currensea users – demonstrating strong customer advocacy of the card – while our angel investors and two VCs place huge emphasis on investing in companies that are trying to do good, highlighting how strong our proposition is. We know customers love the simplicity of our money-saving solution, and now it is clear that investors see it as the answer to a fairer travel money market.”
Currensea customers can also support the fintech’s sustainability initiatives – users can opt to plant one tree for every 8p saved or remove 100 plastic bottles from the ocean for every £1 saved in foreign exchange fees.