Coconut Announces Delayed Second Crowdfunding Campaign; Grow Credit Gets Investment for Subscriptions Credit Line


The FGB Digest brings you the latest news on the world’s fastest growing direct-to-consumer and challenger brands. In today’s edition: Coconut announces delayed second crowdfunding campaign; Grow Credit gets investment for subscriptions credit line; and Klarna launches Vibe.

Coconut announces delayed second crowdfunding campaign

Coconut, the banking platform designed for SMEs and freelancers, is launching its second crowdfunding campaign next week, nearly two and a half months behind schedule.

Sam O’Connor, CEO of Coconut, told AltFi: “We were due to launch our Crowdcube round on the first day of lockdown. The team had done an amazing job of preparing for it with huge effort across the board and our community was excited.”

“When lock-down started, nobody knew how this would play out and we didn’t feel it was the right time to launch.”

In 2018, the SME banking platform beat its previous crowdfunding target by 400%, raising just under £2m. Investors can currently register for priority access to the Crowdcube campaign to get the chance to invest while the campaign is still in private mode.

The CEO says the fintech is planning on using the funds raised to invest in new products and services as “self-employment will be a major feature of the economic recovery.” Early on in the coronavirus crisis, Coconut was one of the first fintechs to offer SMEs, specifically the self-employed and freelancers, support.

Grow Credit gets investment for subscriptions credit line

Grow Credit, the startup that launched last year to help customers build out their credit scores by providing a credit line for online subscriptions like Spotify and Netflix, has added Mucker Labs as an investor. The company has also closed its seed round with USD$2m in total commitments.

The Los Angeles startup founded by serial entrepreneur Joe Bayen, had been bootstrapped initially and then received funding from a clutch of core angel investors before signing a deal with Mucker earlier this month, according to Bayen.

Grow Credit can extend a loan to customers to expand their subscription services. Using the Mastercard network for payments, and Marqeta’s tools to restrict payment access, Grow offers credit facilities to its customers to pay for their monthly subscriptions. By using Grow Credit for those payments, users can improve their credit scores by as much as 61 points in a nine-month span. 

Coming up, Grow Credit said it has a deal in the works with one very large consumer bank in the US and will be launching the Android version of its app in a few weeks.

Klarna launches Vibe

Fintech startup Klarna is launching a rewards program called Vibe this summer. If you use Klarna as your payment method, you’ll start earning points for every USD$1 you spend. You can then redeem your points for gift cards at Starbucks, Sephora, Foot Locker and Uber.

Klarna is best known for its buy now and pay later feature, which lets you pay over four installments with 0% interest. Many e-commerce websites have added Klarna as a payment option to increase sales. It can increase conversion rates for expensive purchases in particular.

Choosing Klarna during the checkout process is one way to get rewards. But the company also has a mobile app that acts as a marketplace of stores. You can browse Klarna-friendly stores directly from the Klarna app and track your orders.

The startup has also developed a way to use Klarna on websites that don’t support Klarna, such as Amazon. You can open the Klarna app, browse the web interface of an unsupported store and pay with a Ghost card.

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