DTC’s Daily Digest brings you the latest news on the world’s fastest growing direct-to-consumer brands. In today’s edition: Jaja to acquire BOI credit card business; Revolut’s and Monese’s European missions; Black Bee Honey hits crowdfunding sweet spot.
Jaja to acquire BOI credit card business
UK fintech Jaja has announced it will pay USD$671m (£848m) in cash to acquire the Bank of Ireland’s UK credit card business, in a move which will see the business scale up its position in the fintech market.
Jaja will also become the consumer credit card issuer for the Bank’s UK business and the AA. At the same time it’s also getting an equity investment of £20m in its own business. The Bank of Ireland put the business up for sale some time ago as part of a bigger strategy to divest of its capital-intensive, competitive operations in a push to grow profitability by improving its loans and mortgages business: amid that, the Bank’s wider UK business has been a challenge for it, with investors going so far as to value the UK business at zero earlier this month.
Prior to this, Jaja had raised about USD$16m (£20.2m), including about £3m by way of the Seedrs crowdfunding platform. The company, which is today active only in the UK, has taken the route of keeping a waitlist to onboard new users, and it was reported to have some 6,000 people on it back in February just ahead of the Jaja launching its cards.
Revolut’s and Monese’s European missions
In more fintech news, Revolut and Monese announced on the same day they are expanding their support for Apple Pay to twelve EU countries, most of them in Central and Eastern Europe.
The full list includes Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, with Monese bringing the service to Liechtenstein as well, making its total one more than the competitor Revolut.
Revolut announced on Twitter the good news, and pushed notifications to all users from the markets mentioned above. Monese, on the other hand, went all in with a full press release, including a statement from its CEO, saying that most of the customers rely heavily on digital payments, including contactless, so there was a “very strong appetite” for Apple Pay in these particular countries.
Revolut and Monese managed to enroll their services in more countries, but local banks are counter-attacking too. Slovakian banks like Slovenska Sporitelna, Tatra bank, mBank and J&T Bank have also announced support for the service through their own banking applications.
Black Bee Honey hits crowdfunding sweet spot
The business is aiming to appeal to consumers’ desire for UK produced goods, claiming that while we’re a nation of bee lovers and beekeepers, most of the £119.5m honey market in the UK is made up of imported goods.
The funding will be the company’s second external raise, after a £100,000 round in August 2017, when the business was founded. Black Bee now sells through Ocado, Amazon and Morrison’s, as well as its own e-commerce site, and is on course to double sales in their second year.
Black Bee is in a consumer sweet spot, ticking boxes for locally sourced, direct-to-consumer, and the lower level of refined sugar consumers look for in their foods these days. Each of these should help the brand continue to grow moving forwards, and are no doubt behind the success of the recent funding round.