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Caraway Raises USD$5.3m for Sustainable Growth; Starling Raises £40m, Four Months After £60m Raise

The FGB Digest brings you the latest news on the world’s fastest growing direct-to-consumer and challenger brands. In today’s edition: Caraway raises USD$5.3m for sustainable growth; Starling raises £40m, only four months after £60m raise; Bunq gives users control over their app design. 

Caraway raises USD$5.3m for sustainable growth

Caraway, a direct-to-consumer startup selling ceramic pots and pans, has raised USD$5.3m in seed funding

Founder and CEO Jordan Nathan said “Caraway has been focused on sustainable growth since day one. We’re only a few months old and growing very fast, but at the same time, we’re focused on cutting costs and making sure every dollar returns a profitable first purchase from consumers.”

Caraway hasn’t revealed any sales numbers, but Nathan said that interest extends beyond buying Caraway products: “It’s been a really good time to activate our community. There’s been a lot more engagement, a lot of sharing of user-generated content, sharing on Instagram — not just for cookware and pans, but education around cooking, around storage, around design.”

The new funding comes from more than 100 investors, including Republic Labs, Springdale Ventures, Bonobos co-founder Andy Dunn, and  Glossier and Arfa founders/executives Henry Davis and Bryan Mahoney. 

Starling raises £40m, only four months after £60m raise

Starling Bank, a UK-based challenger bank, has raised an additional £40m in funding

Starling

The round is led by existing backers Harry McPike’s JTC and Merian Chrysalis Investment Company Limited, and adds to the £60m raised in February this year.

Now boasting 1.4 million accounts, including 155,000 business accounts, Starling Bank has raised a total of £363m since its launch in 2014. Its deposit base has also doubled in the last six months and it now holds more than £2.4bn in deposits.

“This additional funding from our existing investors demonstrates their commitment both to Starling and to our small business and personal customers who need our support now more than ever,” said Starling’s founder Anne Boden in a statement confirming the fundraise.

The new funding will enable the bank to continue investing in growth, and, more specifically, to provide “much-needed support to small business customers who have been hit by the coronavirus emergency.”

This has seen it collaborate with the U.K. government to increase lending to SMEs as part of the country’s various coronavirus crisis business support packages, including £300m under the government-backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

Bunq gives users control over their app design

Challenger bank bunq has launched a public beta testing programme giving users control over the design of its mobile app.

The new look simplifies the experience with only one button on each page and four main tabs, as well as options to create local charities and invite other members to support them.

Founder and chief executive Ali Niknam explained: “Today we’re taking our biggest step in creating the best banking experience yet: this is a complete upgrade to the bunq app our users love – so it’s never been more important we ask our user’s for their opinion.”

As 72% of users choose green companies as their investment preference, the launch of version three builds upon the zero-effort sustainable options offered with Premium Supergreen and Business Supergreen to make it easier and more personalised for users to give to causes that positively impact the world.

By entering the unique IBAN number, users can give back to causes they care about. They can then track their donations within the app and see the total donations given by the entire community. The bunq app is currently available in 30 European markets.

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