British startup Plum, the so-called ‘smartest app for managing your money’, is today announcing an approx. €8.7 million funding round and key product updates that will bring complete financial assistance to its customers. The investment, which has come during the current global COVID-19 outbreak, will support Plum’s exponential growth across Europe and further develop Plum as the centre for people’s financial life.
The new round is led by Japan’s Global Brain and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which has participated in previous funding rounds for Plum. Alongside this, the company has received further funding from long-term investors VentureFriends, the Athens-based VC firm and has been matched around €2.7 million as part of the UK government’s Future Fund scheme. Lifetime investment in Plum now stands at approximately €21.4 million.
Launched in the UK in 2017, Plum uses AI to automate key parts of personal finance, such as saving, switching bills and investing. This scientific approach to money management has been proven to be particularly successful during the COVID-19 pandemic. Where non-AI saving rules like round ups have seen a decrease, Plum’s automation has led to a huge surge in saving during the corona virus outbreak as, when people stayed home and spent less, Plum intuitively stashed more money for them. In June, the company reported an increase of 5x in consumer saving since January 2020 and a 163% increase in utility switching via the Plum app, creating extra wealth for users that can be used for their future.
Against this backdrop of increased saving due to the pandemic, Plum has brought in critical updates aimed at incorporating all important elements of personal finance into one app, and thus improving people’s financial resilience even further. Firstly, customers can now link all their accounts to Plum, whereas previously Plum only accessed a single linked account. Oneview gives customers full visibility of their saving, spending and investments all in place, with Plum automatically working in the background to ensure they optimise their money across their whole financial life.
Secondly, Plum is adding more competitive options for savers by offering interest on money set aside with Plum for the first time. While many of the high street banks are reducing their instant access saving rates to 0.01%, Plum will be offering 0.6% AER on its easy-access account. Plum customers will also be able to split a percentage of the money they put aside automatically, allocating deposits between the new interest-bearing account and their investments if they wish. Because customers control the percentages, it means they can tailor their saving strategy to fit their individual circumstances.
The growing fintech now has more than 1 million customers signed up to its app in the UK. Yet there are still an estimated 11.5 million people in the UK who have less than around €100 saved, and more people than ever are keen to improve their financial situation in the wake of the corona virus crisis. The mission therefore remains to bring wealth and financial resilience to everyone, starting with the UK, but bringing Plum’s power to continental Europe too. Plum aims to launch in Spain and France by the end of 2020 — in Spain, for example, a quarter of the population does not have any savings.
To bring this important mission to fruition, Plum has been heavily investing in its team with senior hires across product, operations and marketing. Now with more than 60 people split across London, UK and Athens, Greece, Plum aims to scale up further to 80 by the end of 2020, and deliver a complete and stable product to users across Europe in record time.
“Plum is becoming the one single app for all your financial needs,” comments Victor Trokoudes, CEO and co-founder of Plum. “This fundraising reflects investors’ trust in our mission, particularly at a time when saving money and optimising spending is crucial. Having secured this investment, innovation through user experience and product development are vital to our brand.”
Naoki Kamimaeda, Partner and Europe Office Representative at Global Brain Corporation, comments: “More users have started using fintech apps and personal financial management apps across the globe, to be more efficient and be better off. Among these fintech apps, Plum has a very unique position and very bold ambition to be a partner of individuals to save more money and manage their financial life in an easier and more effective manner. Particularly, this kind of financial life management is demanded in the current global pandemic timing and the world of post COVID. Also, we are very impressed by Victor and his team who clearly see what the future of personal finance should look like. Therefore, we, Global Brain, see huge potential in Plum and will continue leveraging our resources to support Plum to grow to the go-to app of your financial life management.”