DTC’s Daily Digest brings you the latest news on the world’s fastest growing direct-to-consumer brands. In today’s edition: Monzo launches in the US; Blue Apron splits stock to maintain NYSE listing; and ride-hailing company Bolt launches in the UK.
Monzo launches in the US
UK digital bank Monzo has launched its app-based current account and connected debit card in the US, via a partnership agreement with Ohio-based Sutton Bank. Initially the banking service will only be available via a limited series of sign-up events and an online waiting list, as the London-based firm aims to replicate the success, through word-of-mouth, the company has enjoyed on the British side of the Atlantic.
A stricter financial environment within the US, as well as a vastly different consumer base, is a further explanation for their cautious approach. “We are taking it slow to start with,” Monzo chief executive Tom Blomfield has said. “We want to understand how U.S. consumers think and feel about their money.”
Thus far Monzo has proved to be one of the more successful digital banks in Europe, and is currently valued upwards of £1bn. Reportedly 200,000 users per month open a checking account on their app, however the company faces strict competition in the US with established banks and similar fintech startups such as Chime.
Blue Apron splits stock to maintain NYSE listing
US-based meal kit service Blue Apron has approved a fifteen-to-one reverse stock split in an effort to maintain its listing on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The Blue Apron share price slid further following the announcement, falling from USD$0.63 (£0.50) to USD$0.55 (£0.44).
Companies must have a share price of USD$1 (£0.79) to remain on the major US stock exchanges else they will be delisted., Having traded below this figure since early May, Blue Apron remains in an uphill battle to maintain their listing. The company press release states that the reverse stock listing was approved in order to “ensure the Company regains full compliance with the NYSE share price listing rule and maintains its listing on the NYSE and to improve the marketability and liquidity of the Company’s Class A common stock”.
The latest effort from Blue Apron to resurrect its fortunes in the DTC food landscape within a period of increased competition, most notably from Amazon following their acquisition of Whole Foods in 2017, is a long cry from their IPO pricing of USD$10 per share (£7.94).
Ride-hailing company Bolt launches in the UK
Estonia-based ride-hailing company Bolt has officially launched in the UK, with approximately 20,000 drivers already registered to the app. Formerly known as Taxify, the expansion into London represents the latest stage in the company’s growth, with their reach now totalling more than 50 cities in over 30 countries.
With Uber currently dominating the ride-share market in the UK, Bolt’s expansion represents an increased diversification of the space, with Indian firm Ola also planning to enter the London market by the end of 2019. However in its former guise as Taxify, Bolt has previously fallen foul of the UK authorities, having been formed to suspend operations in the capital in 2017, merely a week after they launched.
Founded in 2013, Bolt realised unicorn status just five years later, following a USD$175m (£138.9m) funding round led by German car manufacturer Daimler.