Curve appoints North America boss to head up NYC office

By Oliver Smith on Tuesday 11 February 2020

Digital Banking

Amanda Orson, an adviser to one of Curve’s investors Gauss Ventures, will lead the fintech’s US launch plans.

Curve appoints North America boss to head up NYC office
Image source: Amanda Orson, Curve's VP head of North America.

Curve, the all-your-cards-in-one fintech, is expanding to the US with the opening of its first office in North America today.

Based in Brooklyn, the new office will operate as the base for Curve’s launch in the US this Autumn.

The fintech says it plans to create 185 new jobs by 2024, investing nearly $17m in research and development from its US outpost over the next decade.

Leading the initiative is Amanda Orson, previously managing partner of media group W2PY and an adviser to one of Curve’s investors Gauss Ventures, who will take on the role of Curve’s newly-appointed VP, head of North America.

Curve is building the perfect product for the US market at just the right time,” said Orson. 

“US consumers aren’t clamoring for a different, or additional, bank—they want their financial products to provide a better user experience.” 

Curve had a mixed 2019, with a chunky $55m Series B funding round in July followed by allegations in November, disputed by the company, that Curve was suffering painfully low monthly usage rates from its customers.

Last month Curve kicked off 2020 with the launch of Apple Pay, and the company now claims to have over 900,000 users who have signed up and spend more than £1.2bn via their Curve cards.

Analysis

Clearly Curve’s long-term plans for the US, with job numbers and R&D investment, are aspirational and based on a highly successful launch later this year.

However, the very fact that Curve is joining the likes of Revolut, Monzo and N26 to launch in the US places it on a similar high-risk path as these larger players.

As Sarah Kocianski, head of research at 11:FS, puts it: “the US market not only has a huge number of existing players, but everyone knows as a regulatory environment it's very difficult to navigate.”

The challenge for Curve, as we wrote on the launch of Curve’s Apple Pay integration, is that with mobile payments booming and banks increasingly distributing their bank cards digitally, we’re creeping towards a cardless world—one that leaves Curve’s all-in-one card in a precarious spot.

Therefore establishing a beachhead in new markets, like America, before that cardless consolidation happens is critical.

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