Revoluts $5.3 million crowdfunding campaign is oversubscribed

Fintech startup Revolut just raised a ton of money. But grabbing $66 million from respected VC firms wasnt enough (50 million). For the second time, Revolut asked its user base to invest in the startup.

Revolut was looking for $5.3 million on Seedrs (4 million), but 40,000 customers said that they were interested in the investment opportunity. If Revolut took all the money, it would represent $22.3 million (17 million). But the company will limit its equity crowdfunding campaign to its initial goal.

The $5.3 million target was reached in less than 24 hours, which is quite impressive as equity crowdfunding inst as popular as other investment products. Revolut even says that there has never been an equity crowdfunding campaign with so many pre-registered investors.

Revolut expects to attract 4,000 to 10,000 investors as people can invest $1,300 at most (1,000). At first, the first 5,000 Revolut users who signed up to Revolut Premium will get invited to the Seedrs page and will be able to invest twice as much as regular investors.

Then, Revolut will gradually invite random users who pre-registered on the Seedrs page. Oh, and tennis player Andy Murray also said that he wants to invest, so Revolut is going to invite him to the round straight away. Murray has a strategy partnership with Seedrs, so that might explain a few things.

For context, there are now 750,000 Revolut users. Revolut is a digital wallet that lets you receive, exchange and send money in dozens of currencies. When you sign up, you can create virtual cards and receive a good old plastic MasterCard. You can top up your account using another card or a bank transfer.

Over time, Revolut has been adding new features, such as personal IBANs, a credit feature, business accounts and travel insurance. With this funding round, Revolut plans to add support for cryptocurrencies, stocks and bonds. The company is also going to expand to North America and Asia.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/07/30/revoluts-53-million-crowdfunding-campaign-is-oversubscribed/

Mobile savings and investment service Acorns is on track to do 1 billion trades in 2017

Acorns is quickly turning into an oak tree in the financial services space.

The company now boasts more than 2 million investment accounts (with 600,000 opened in 2017 alone) and is on track to do 1 billion trades in 2017 through the proprietary broker-dealer that it created.

Those are hefty numbers to post for any financial services company, especially considering that Fidelity (one of the nations largest money managers) will do approximately 60 million trades over the same period.

However, those numbers also arent directly comparable. Acorns relies on micro-transactions, based on its round-up savings and investment system which rounds up amounts of purchases to the nearest dollar and invests the difference in exchange-traded funds that it manages for its customers.

Still, the numbers were impressive enough to attract Bain Capital Ventures to commit another $35 million to the company, bringing Acorns total Series D financing to $70 million. Previous investors PayPal, Greycroft Growth Fund, e.Ventures Growth Fund, NYCA, Capital Group, Rakuten, Point72 and Ashton Kutchers Sound Ventures also participated in the round.

With the new money, Acorns is looking at potential acquisitions, according to chief executive Noah Kerner. The areas of interest to us are the questions about how to make Acorns more personalized, he said.

One area of particular interest is responsible spending, Kerner tells me. Its a huge area of concern for our customers, and part and parcel of the Acorns experience is connecting spending with responsible saving, so were looking at that area. Two of the big-ticket questions How does a customer spend responsibly and what do they do with the money they have left over.

The company is also pushing heavily to staff up, adding some heavy-hitters to its staff. Recent additions include Gahl Berkooz as chief data officer.

The former global chief of analytics for General Motors, Berkooz will likely be tasked with organizing, managing and cleaning up data for Jike Chong, another new hire. Chong was the former chief data scientist at Yirendai, Chinas massive peer-to-peer lending company, which listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

And while snatching up Berkooz and Chong are impressive, whats more impressive is the fact that Acorns also managed to snag Chris Jones, the former chief investment officer at BlackRock, a $4.7 trillion money management firm (the worlds largest). That is a big deal. A very big deal.

What Jones brings is more than just a fancy title. Those kinds of numbers are an indication of the outsized ambitions that Acorns has set for itself as it tries to be the financial service of record for the millennial set.

Still, the company faces some stiff competition from direct and indirect competitors, including businesses like Stash Invest(direct), andWealthfront, Betterment and Robinhood(indirect).

Stash, which just raised $40 million,is Acorns closest competitor and has also had a banner year by all accounts. The company said that its now servicing more than 850,000 users accounts, adding roughly 500,000 new accounts in 2017.

Meanwhile, Wealthfront and Betterment are also making moves. Both firms have joined the online investor Motif in pushing socially responsible investments.

Not everyone is convinced that Acorns is the best route for people looking to build out an investment portfolio. While some hail it as the perfect investing app, other sites have warned consumers to beware of spare change investments.

However, the company does charge fees for folks with a minimum balance under $5,000, and in many cases those fees can be higher than their competitors, according to an analysis by PolicyGenius:

Acorns fees are $1 per month for all accounts with a balance under $5,000 and .25%of the balance per year on accounts over $5,000. Compared to traditional management, mutual funds, and DIY ETFs, this fee is incredibly low. Other portfolio advisory services, like Amerivest, charge as much as 1.25% and require a minimum investment of $25,000.

Betterment only charges .25%per year for its baseline price tier, amounting to a fee of mere cents per month while you are building up your portfolio.

And what about Wealthfront, another robo-advisor? They require a minimum balance of $500. They do, however, manage the first $10,000 of every account for free.

Funds like Betterment may charge .25 percent for accounts, but dont offer the same roundup feature that Acorns does.

Where the $1 fee can hurt is when people dont meet the companys $5,000 threshold. Over the first months or years of savings, that fee can add up.

Still, as a step on the road to financial stability, folks could do far worse. And Kerner is committed to helping people become better with their finances. That passion shines in every conversation Ive had with the young chief executive. Hes obsessed with helping people manage their money more responsibly.

A lot of people know Acorns as a round-up app, he tells me, but the stat hes most proud of is that more than 50 percent of customers are using the recurring investment feature. That tool will bring most of Acorns customers over that $5,000 threshold and get them the benefits of a money manager at a significantly lower price.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/07/20/mobile-savings-and-investment-services-acorns-is-on-track-to-do-1-billion-trades-in-2017/

Revolut launches personal Euro accounts with your own IBAN

Fintech startup Revolut just raised $66 million and is already launching new features. Starting today, you can generate your own IBAN for Euro transactions. This way, you can receive your salary directly on your Revolut account for instance.

While you could already top up your Revolut account with a regular bank transfer, Revolut only had one bank account to receive all your Euro transfers. It would then credit your Revolut account thanks to the transaction reference and the senders name. But Revolut still remains a digital wallet at heart.

Now, everybody can get their own IBAN and hand it out to their employer, cash out money on PayPal, Lydia or any peer-to-peer payment app and more. And if youre trying to transfer money from your existing bank account to your Revolut account, its less confusing and more reassuring.

Setting up an IBAN only takes a few seconds. You have to tap on the top up button, then on bank transfer. If you select your Euro balance, you can get your new IBAN. If you havent confirmed your identity yet, Revolut will ask you to scan your passport or drivers license.

Those IBANs are based in Lithuania. While theres a European rule that says that employers and financial services cant discriminate based on the bank account origin as long as its part of the Eurozone, some services dont let you add foreign IBANs. So if you dont live in Lithuania, you may encounter a few issues.

Revolut already launched a similar feature for your GBP balance back in February. The startup doesnt currently support direct debits, but its planned.

This feature is going to be quite useful if youre a British student moving abroad for an internship, or if youre a freelancer with clients working in multiple currencies.

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Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/07/17/revolut-launches-personal-euro-accounts-with-your-own-iban/