DTC’s Daily Digest brings you the latest news on the world’s fastest growing direct-to-consumer brands. In today’s edition: MoneyLion nears unicorn status; Mojo Mortgages and Monzo team up; and Coke invests in kombucha DTC.
MoneyLion nears unicorn status
Mobile banking platform MoneyLion has raised a USD$100m (£80m) Series C funding round. The amount is more than double the USD$42m (£34m) raised in a Series B just 18 months ago, and is thought to have put the business near unicorn value. Describing itself as a “Costco/Netflix” of the financial industry, MoneyLion offers an array of services to its customers using a membership model.
MoneyLion has now raised a total of USD$227.5m (£183m) since its inception in 2013. Investors in the latest round included a combination of strategic investors (Capital One and MetaBank) and existing financial investors.
The company says it has over 5 million members currently. That compares to over 4 million back in April and more than 3 million last October. The startup also said its bank membership has grown “at an annualised rate of greater than 1,000%.”
MoneyLion uses AI and machine learning to “deliver personalised money-saving recommendations” and do things like help people improve their credit scores. Looking ahead, the company said it plans to launch a trading platform in Q4 of this year.
Mojo Mortgages and Monzo team up
Mojo Mortgages chief product officer Eddie Ross says “because we can access their Monzo bank account details we can get the full fact find information by only having to ask 11 or 12 additional questions to then find suitable mortgage product.” All this can be completed inside the bank’s app and customers are then offered the option to book an advice call with a Mojo broker.
This is an interesting partnership between two of the UK’s leading fintech businesses in their respective categories (banking and mortgages). The team up will allow both businesses to tap into one another’s customer insights. As the two businesses are not directly competing, though they operate in a similar space, this will allow each to gain valuable knowledge on what prospective customers are looking for, without sacrificing their position in the market.
Coke invests in kombucha DTC
DTC soft drinks brand Health-Ade Kombucha have received a USD$20m (£16m) investment from Coca-Cola. Coke have already invested an undisclosed amount into Health-Ade in 2014, and the business raised USD$7m (£5.6m) in 2016.
Coca-Cola continues to evolve its product portfolio to support its vision as not just a soda business, but “a total beverage company,” as CEO James Quincey has said. The move to invest in a kombucha brand fits well with other efforts the beverage giant has made recently to augment its core soda business with healthier items such as tea, water and coffee products.
Besides Coca-Cola, other big food and beverage companies have gotten into the kombucha category to expand their core portfolios. PepsiCo acquired KeVita in 2016, and Molson Coors bought Clearly Kombucha last year. In 2017, 301 INC, the venture capital arm of General Mills, led a USD$6.5m (£5m) investment round for Farmhouse Culture, a startup making fermented and probiotic foods and beverages, and Peet’s Coffee took part in a USD$7.5m (£6m) round of funding for Revive Kombucha.