DTC’s Daily Digest brings you the latest news on the world’s fastest growing direct-to-consumer and challenger brands. In today’s edition: Monese to pass £1bn valuation; Lazy Flora surpasses £75k fundraising target; and Zoomcar raises Zoomcar raises INR 213 Cr (£23m).
Monese to pass £1bn valuation
Executives at fintech startup Monese have entered discussions with new and existing investors with the aim of raising £100m, which would take the London-based firm’s valuation to over £1bn, according to three sources speaking to The Financial Times. Should the funding round prove successful it would raise Monese to unicorn status, joining similar British digital banking firms Monzo and Revolut. While Monese added numerous products through 2019 as reported in DTC Daily, including joint accounts and savings pots, the firm has yet to turn a profit, reporting a pre-tax loss of £12.7m in 2018.
While refusing to comment on the proposed funding round, Norris Koppel, founder and chief executive of Monese, revealed to CityAM that 2 million customers had signed up to use the firm’s banking services, and is on course to reach 5 million by the close of 2020. “It took 42 months to get to 1 million customers and only eight months to reach today’s milestone.” Koppel said, “We started Monese with one goal – to provide financial freedom anywhere and everywhere. We’re beginning to expand this and are seeing huge popularity in big global cities across Europe.”
Lazy Flora surpasses £75k fundraising target
Lazy Flora, a self-named “Hello Fresh for plants”, has surpassed its fundraising target of £75,000 on crowdfunding platform Seedrs. At the time of writing £80,383 has been raised in return for a 5.15% equity share in the Nottingham-based company, giving the firm a pre-money valuation of £1.48m. The funding will purportedly be used for expanding the firm’s marketing and sales capacities, which includes the relocation into a new warehouse to facilitate it’s growing order list.
Lazy Flora’s strategy is to target the time-poor millennial urban gardener, with the firm’s campaign overview stating that traditional garden centres have been “slow to react to eCommerce”, and as such are failing this demographic. To date Lazy Flora has realised revenue of over £120,000 from over 5,000 orders, with average month-on-month revenue growth of 40% through 2019.
Zoomcar raises INR 213 Cr (£23m)
Zoomcar, a Bengaluru-based self-drive car rental platform, has announced that it has raised INR 213 Cr (£23m) in funding as part of a USD$100m Series D round. The latest financing was led by Sony Innovation Fund, along with existing investors, and will be used to facilitate the expansion of the firm’s Indian fleet by approximately 100,000 vehicles within the next 24 months.
Zoomcar launched in 2013 and currently operates in more than 45 cities across India, with a fleet of 10,000 vehicles. To date the firm has raised USD$151.9m (£116.5m) from investors including Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd, Ford Smart Mobility, Sequoia Capital, InnoVen Capital, and Trifecta Capital. The self-drive car rental model is becoming increasingly popular in India, with noted firms such as Ola recently acquiring licences to operate such platforms in the market.