Revolut launches its financial app in Japan

Fintech startup Revolut is expanding to Japan. After testing the service with 10,000 users, anybody can now sign up and open an account. The company originally obtained its authorization to operate from Japan’s Finance Service Agency in 2018.

When you open an account, you get an electronic wallet and a Visa debit card. You can top up your account and spend money with your card, a virtual card, Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc. Revolut sends you instant notifications and lets you freeze and unfreeze your card from the app.

You can also send money to other Revolut users or a bank account. Like in other countries, Revolut lets you exchange money in the app and send money in other currencies. Many users have taken advantage of the service to travel and pay less in foreign exchange fees.

Users in Japan will also be able to create vaults and put some money aside by rounding up transactions and creating recurring transactions. And that’s about it for now.

The company has already launched premium plans in Japan, but it doesn’t give you a lot of benefits other than lower fees on foreign exchange, different card designs, better support and the ability to buy airport lounge access with LoungeKey Pass.

Unlike in the U.K. and Europe, you won’t be able to buy cryptocurrencies, trade stocks, buy insurance products, create Revolut Junior accounts for your children, etc. Revolut is really trying to build a super app in its home country and has massively expanded its feature set over the years.

The company promises that some features, such as cryptocurrency and stock trading, will be available globally. But there’s no release date just yet. So let’s see how the product evolves in the coming months.

Revolut is currently available in the U.K., Europe, the U.S., Singapore and Australia. It currently has 13 million customers.

Image Credits: Revolut

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Lokalise: Latvian localisation software startup helping Revolut, Yelp & Virgin Mobile raises €5.07M in Series A

Localisation is a great way to establish oneself as a trusted entity, be it for a small company or a global business. Conglomerates such as Amazon and Google localise their service to better serve their consumers and increase their reach and similarly, there are companies that provide such services to others. The Latvian localisation software startup, Lokalise, is one such startup that has established itself in the field and has now raised a whopping €5.07M in Series A funding round. 

Time to hire top talent

Lokalise was founded in 2017 in Riga, Latvia by tech entrepreneurs Petr Antropov and Nick Ustinov. After working as a bootstrapped company since its inception, the startup realised its potential to grow faster and hence secured €5.07M in Series A funding round. The amount raised is said to be the largest ever first-time investment for a Latvian-founded startup. External funding will now be used to hire top SaaS talents globally and to accelerate the company’s growth as it goes fully remote. 

The Series A funding round for the company was led by one of Europe’s most experienced VCs, Mike Chalfen, with participation from capital300. Additionally, a number of high-profile angel investors such as Andrey Khusid (Founder and CEO of Miro) and his angel fund S16, Nicolas Dessaigne (co-founder of Algolia), Des Traynor (co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Intercom), Matt Robinson(CEO of Nested), Rich Waldron, Ali Russell, and Dom Lewis (the founders of Tray), Carlos Gonzalez-Cadenas (COO of GoCardless), Eugene Katz (ex-CS lead of Atlassian), Stephane Kurgan (the former COO of King.com) and Charlie Songhurst participated as well. 

Nick Ustinov, CEO and co-founder said: “Initially we were just a handful of coders building a product for a pain that we ourselves were experiencing. When top-tier customers started knocking on our doors we saw the larger opportunity at play. We quickly realized that the greatest challenge to scale Lokalise is in attracting the best go-to-market talent. Having met good VCs in both Europe and the US, we are happy that we picked Mike Chalfen as our partner to realize our vision.”

Automated and streamlined localisation

Lokalise offers a platform to manage localisation and this entails the process of translating and adapting content for local markets. Softwares, apps, websites and other digital assets are covered by the startup. Translation, generally, is done manually via cumbersome excel files. 

However, Lokalise pushes the content directly to its software solution that automates and streamlines this flow, enabling  engineers, managers, translators, and designers to seamlessly work together on multi-market products from prototype to production. It also uses APIs, SDKs, and plug-and-play connectors that automate data input from prototyping platforms to the live end-product. 

The company also switched to a fully-remote operation in March 2020, after experimenting with it in Q4 2019. This move also enabled them to recruit global talent. In three years the startup has grown to 60 employees, with thousands of customers from over 80 countries ranging from startups to Fortune500 companies.

Image credits: Lokalise

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N26 vs. Revolut: The battle of the challenger banks

Dubbed as “challenger banks” not that long ago, the digital banks N26 and Revolut have acquired over 15 million registered users (10 million for Revolut and 5.5 million for N26) as of the first quarter of this year, putting both on a hyper-growth track. They also dominated headlines when they raised huge funding rounds in the last 6 months – N26 extended it’s series D round with an additional €92 million in May, bringing the series D total to around €520 million and an approximate €3.2 billion valuation, while Revolut raised around €460 million for its series D and an approximate €5 billion valuation in February.

Aside from the race to dominate the global markets in terms of registered users, app downloads and huge funding and valuations, how do these digital banks really compare against each other? Which one offers the best options for managing your money digitally? Which one is the best for travelling? What are the fees involved and how easy (or difficult) is it to open and maintain an account?

Check-out our side by side comparison of N26 and Revolut standard plans and see for yourself:

The free plans of both N26 and Revolut are convenient and less expensive alternatives to traditional bank accounts. Both offer flexibility for overseas transactions and international money transfers, as well as options for freelancers and small businesses. The main differences are that as N26 has a German banking license, deposits are guaranteed up to €100K while a similar guarantee is not yet available for Revolut in the EU and N26 does not charge anything for card transactions in foreign currency. Unlike Revolut, N26 is no longer available in the UK but has been available in the US by 2019, while Revolut became available in the US only in March 2020. N26 is available in both the web and mobile app versions, while Revolut is only in mobile app. Revolut has features that are not available in N26 like access to cryptocurrencies.

N26 and Revolut both have premium/paid plans that offer travel insurance features like overseas travel, luggage, and trip insurances. N26 premium plans offer extra lifestyle features such as mobility insurance for shared vehicles as well as winter sports insurance.

N26 and Revolut’s stories

N26 was founded in 2013 in Berlin by Valentin Stalf and Maximilian Tayenthal, with the aim of making banking easier and more transparent for millions around the world. In 2015, it launched its first products with its free N26 bank accounts and N26 Mastercards in Germany and Austria. It secured a full European banking license from the European Central Bank in 2016 and in 2017 introduced its premium account with N26 Metal. As mentioned above, 2019 proved to be a banner year for N26 in terms of fundraising. This year, N26 has over 5 million customers across 25 markets, with a team of more than 1,500 employees across its main offices in Berlin, New York, Barcelona, Vienna, and São Paulo. In 2020, N26 closed their operations in the UK, citing Brexit as the cause.

Revolut was founded two years later than N26, in 2015 in London, by Nik Storonsky and Vlad Yatsenko. Its aim from day one was to become a global financial superapp. By 2016, Revolut registered 100,000 users and secured its Series A funding. In 2017, it launched crypto trading and Revolut for business as well as secured its Series B funding of around €55 million. Next up, 2018 saw the launch of its premium service Revolut Metal while in 2019, it launched donations (partnering with 20 charities) and trading which brought fractional trading to its customers. This year, it expanded to the US, secured a €460 million Series D funding, and enabled open banking that allowed customers to all their external accounts in one place. Revolut has surpassed over 12 million in customers across 35 countries with over 30 in-app currencies. It has over 2,000 employees across its 20 locations globally that include offices in London, New York, San Francisco, Paris, Berlin, Melbourne, São Paulo, and Tokyo.

What’s next?

From the beginning, N26 has positioned itself as a neobank, a digital and convenient alternative to traditional banking while Revolut on the other hand rather as peer-to-peer payments and currency exchange, more on alternative financial services not readily available with traditional banks. With its recent funding, N26 intends to double down on its most promising markets (EU, US, Brazil) while Revolut wants to double down on its core features, down to providing full bank accounts in Europe in the future, replicating the many services currently available in the UK. Revolut also intends to launch in the US and Japan.

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Revolut extends Series D round to $580 million with $80 million in new funding

Fintech startup Revolut just announced that it has raised $ 80 million as part of its Series D round that it announced in February. The new influx of funding comes from TSG Consumer Partners.

In February, Revolut raised a $ 500 million led by TCV at a $ 5.5 billion valuation. Today’s new funding extends that funding round to $ 580 million — the company says the valuation remains the same.

If you’re not familiar with Revolut, the company is building a financial service to replace traditional bank accounts. You can open an account from an app in just a few minutes. You can then receive, send and spend money from the app or use a debit card. Revolut also lets you exchange currencies.

The startup expanded beyond that simple feature set and now wants to become a financial hub, a super app for all things related to money. For instance, you can insure your phone, get a travel medical insurance package, buy cryptocurrencies, buy shares, donate to charities and save money from Revolut.

The company says it’ll use the investment to add new features in the U.S. and roll out banking operations across Europe — you can expect local banking details in multiple European countries. Eventually, Revolut also plans to offer credit products across Europe.

In addition to that, Revolut is working on a subscription management tool. It lets you see all your active subscriptions, cancel them from Revolut and receive alerts when a free trial ends.

There are now 12 million registered users on Revolut.

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Revolut partners with Paxos to bring cryptocurrency trading to the US

Neobank Revolut launched in the U.S. a couple of months ago. The startup is slowly catching up with features that are available in the U.K. and Europe. This time, Revolut is adding cryptocurrency trading through a partnership with Paxos.

Users in the U.S. can now buy, hold and sell Bitcoin and Ethereum from the Revolut app. The feature is going to be available in 49 states as there are some regulatory issues in Tennessee. If you have USD or other currencies in your Revolut account, you can exchange manually whenever you want.

You can also set up alerts in case there are some important price changes happening. Optionally, users can also round up card payments to the nearest whole dollar and convert spare change into crypto assets.

If you’re familiar with Revolut’s cryptocurrency feature, you know that the company gives you access to more cryptocurrencies in Europe, such as Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash and XRP. The company says it is starting with BTC and ETH in the U.S. but is already working on bringing more cryptocurrencies.

When it comes to fees, users with a free Revolut account will pay 2.5% in conversion fees. Users with a Premium and Metal subscription will pay 1.5% in fees. Revolut is waving fees for the first 30 days.

This is in line with the company’s current fees in Europe. Revolut also has some monthly limits on currency exchange in general for free users as well — it can be fiat currencies or cryptocurrencies. You have to pay a 0.5% fee above that limit or pay for a subscription.

Revolut made some changes to its cryptocurrency feature recently. While you now technically own your cryptocurrencies, you can’t send and receive cryptocurrencies from third-party wallets. The feature is all about trading — buying, holding and selling.

In the U.S., Square’s Cash App and Robinhood also let you buy cryptocurrencies in their respective app. While those features don’t offer the same flexibility as a full-fledged cryptocurrency exchange, it makes it easy to get started with cryptocurrencies.

Startups – TechCrunch

Revolut launches bank for its customer-base in Lithuania

Based out of London, Revolut is a financial services company that specialises in mobile banking, card payments, money remittance, and foreign exchange. The company is on a mission to build a fair and frictionless platform to use and manage money around the world. 

Signed up more than 300,000 customers!

Recently, the UK fintech company has launched its bank in Lithuania, enabling its 300,000 customers in the country to deposit their salaries and other funds in new deposit protected bank accounts. All customer deposits will be protected by the Lithuanian state company Deposit and Investment Insurance.

Speaking on the launch of Revolut Bank in Lithuania, Virgilijus Mirkės, Chief Executive Officer of Revolut Bank said:

 “Revolut has become a trusted household name in Lithuania. We have achieved this by solving our customers’ problems, treating them fairly, and being at the forefront of financial innovation. We are incredibly excited to take the next step in our mission to build a world-class bank for our customers in Lithuania.”

Upgrade through the app!

Notably, the existing customers can upgrade from e-money accounts to bank deposit accounts from their Revolut app – in just a few minutes. Additionally, Revolut plans to offer consumer lending services in the coming months, including consumer loans and credit cards. 

Revolut Junior on cards in Lithuania!

The fintech platform also expects to launch Revolut Junior accounts for children and young people aged 7-17. Right now, the Revolut Junior is available to Premium and Metal customers in the UK.

Signed up 10 million customers globally!

Headquartered in London, with 25 offices globally, Revolut has signed up 10 million customers globally. Furthermore, Revolut set up a new office in Vilnius in 2017 where it currently employs more than 170 people in banking operations, customer support, and marketing. Since launch, Revolut has processed more than 1bn transactions worth over $ 100 billion.

Last month, Revolut raised $ 500 million in new funding and listed operationalising the bank and reaching profitability as key priorities for the company in 2020. Founded by Nikolay Storonsky and Vlad Yatsenko, Revolut has raised €763 million funding to date.

Main image credits: Revolut

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One of the biggest British banks which tried to rival Monzo and Revolut has sunk

In the last couple of years, we’ve seen a substantial shift in the way banking systems offer their services. We saw some new digital banking services that shook up the scene and introduced new features. One such service was the standalone digital bank Bó by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). However, RBS has decided to pull the plug on the digital bank, and here’s why this happened. 

RBS pulls the plug on its digital bank Bó

RBS recently released a report wherein it explained that its digital bank is being shut down. More precisely, Bó will be merged with RBS’ digital bank for SMEs, Mettle.  “As a result, we will be winding down Bó as a customer-facing brand. The technology used in Bó will be integrated as we develop Mettle further,” RBS CEO Alison Rose said in a media call. 

Bó was launched back in November 2019 with the aim of rivalling Monzo, Revolut, and Starling. It managed to garner around 11,000 customers, who have been sent an email informing that the bank is closing down. Their customers will still have access to the account, which will be functional and they will be informed 60 days before it is closed.

Why was Bó shut down?

While there are many reasons being attributed to the closure of Bo, RBS a prominent one is a shift in focus. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, RBS says it needed to refocus its efforts to tackle the difficult market. RBS says it is currently focussing its efforts on its retail bank after being hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak in the first quarter. The British state bank-backed RBS faced halved profits as it set aside € 913 million to cover a forecasted surge in bad loans due to COVID-19.

In addition to the pandemic, one can’t overlook the fact that Bo’s CEO Mark Bailie and CPO Ollie Purdu recently left the company. Furthermore, right after launch, the company’s services were struck with issues such as a compliance glitch that led to the replacement of thousands of customer cards. There were also some issues with the app as well due to which it failed to receive good stellar feedback from customers on app stores.

Main image credits: Bó

Stay tuned to Silicon Canals for more European technology news.

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