Bird has officially raised a whopping $300M as the scooter wars heat up

Bird has officially raised a whopping 0M as the scooter wars heat up
And there we have it: Bird, one of the emerging massively hyped Scooter startups, has roped in its next pile of funding by picking up another $300 million in a round led by Sequoia Capital.
The company announced the long-anticipated round this morning, with Sequoia’s Roelof Botha joining the company’s board of directors. This is the second round of funding that Bird has raised over the span of a few months, sending it from a reported $1 billion valuation in May to a $2 billion valuation by the end of June. In March, the company had a $300 million valuation, but the Scooter hype train has officially hit a pretty impressive inflection point as investors pile on to get money into what many consider to be the next iteration of resolving transportation at an even more granular level than cars or bikes. New investors in the round include Accel, B Capital, CRV, Sound Ventures, Greycroft and e.ventures; previous investors Craft Ventures, Index Ventures, Valor, Goldcrest, Tusk Ventures and Upfront Ventures are also in the round. (So, basically everyone else who isn’t in competitor Lime.)
Scooter mania has captured the hearts of Silicon Valley and investors in general — including Paige Craig, who actually jumped from VC to join Bird as its VP of business — with a large amount of capital flowing into the area about as quickly as it possibly can. These sort of revolving-door fundraising processes are not entirely uncommon, especially for very hot areas of investment, though the scooter scene has exploded considerably faster than most. Bird’s round comes amid reports of a mega-round for Lime, one of its competitors, with the company reportedly raising another $250 million led by GV, and Skip also raising $25 million.
“We have met with over 20 companies focused on the last-mile problem over the years and feel this is a multi-billion dollar opportunity that can have a big impact in the world,” CRV’s Saar Gur, who did the deal for the firm, said. “We have a ton of conviction that this team has original product thought (they created the space) and the execution chops to build something extremely valuable here. And we have been long-term focused, not short-term focused, in making the investment. The ‘hype’ in our decision (the non-zero answer) is that Bird has built the best product in the market and while we kept meeting with more startups wanting to invest in the space — we kept coming back to Bird as the best company. So in that sense, the hype from consumers is real and was a part of the decision. On unit economics: We view the first product as an MVP (as the company is less than a year old) — and while the unit economics are encouraging, they played a part of the investment decision but we know it is not even the first inning in this market.”
There’s certainly an argument to be made for Bird, whose scooters you’ll see pretty much all over the place in cities like Los Angeles. For trips that are just a few miles down wide roads or sidewalks, where you aren’t likely to run into anyone, a quick scan of a code and a hop on a Bird may be worth the few bucks in order to save a few minutes crossing those considerably long blocks. Users can grab a bird that they see and start going right away if they are running late, and it does potentially alleviate the pressure of calling a car for short distances in traffic, where a scooter may actually make more sense physically to get from point A to point B than a car.
There are some considerable hurdles going forward, both theoretical and in effect. In San Francisco, though just a small slice of the United States metropolitan area population, the company is facing significant pushback from the local government, and scooters for the time being have been kicked off the sidewalks. There’s also the looming shadow of what may happen regarding changes in tariffs, though Gur said that it likely wouldn’t be an issue and “the unit economics appear to be viable even if tariffs were to be added to the cost of the scooters.” (Xiaomi is one of the suppliers for Bird, for example.)

Source: Gadgets – techcrunch

Instead of points, Bumped gives equity in the companies you shop at

Instead of points, Bumped gives equity in the companies you shop at

What does brand loyalty even mean anymore? App downloads, points, stars, and other complex reward systems have not just spawned their own media empires trying to decipher them, they have failed at their most basic objective: building a stronger bond between a brand and its consumers.

Bumped wants to reinvent the loyalty space by giving consumers shares of the companies they shop at. Through Bumped’s app, consumers choose their preferred retailer in different categories (think Lowe’s vs The Home Depot in home improvement), and when they spend money at that store using a linked credit card, Bumped will automatically give them ownership in that company.

The startup, which is based in Portland and was founded in March 2017, announced the beta launch of its service today, as well as a $14.1 million series A led by Dan Ciporin at Canaan Partners, along with existing seed investors Peninsula Ventures, Commerce Ventures, and Oregon Venture Partners.

Bumped is a brokerage, and the company told me that it has passed all FINRA and SEC licensing. When consumers spend money at participating retailers, they receive bona fide shares in the companies they shop at. Each retailer determines a loyalty percentage rate, which is a minimum of 1% and can go up to 5%. Bumped then buys shares off the public market to reward consumers, and in cases where it needs to buy fractional shares, it will handle all of those logistics.

Bumped’s app allows users to track their shares

For founder and CEO David Nelsen, the startup doesn’t just make good business sense, it can have a wider social impact of democratizing access to the public equity markets. “A lot of brands need to build an authentic relationship with the customers,” he explained to me. “The brands that have a relationship with consumers, beyond price, are thriving.” With Bumped, Nelsen’s goal is to “align the interests of a shareholder and consumer, and everybody wins.”

His mission is to engage more Americans into the equity markets and the power of ownership. He notes that far too many people fail to setup their 401k, and don’t invest regularly in the stock market, citing a statistic that only 13.9% of people directly own a share of stock. By offering shares, he hopes that Bumped engages consumers to think about their relationship to companies in a whole new way. As Nelsen put it, “we are talking about bringing a whole new class of shareholders into the market.”

This isn’t the first time that Nelsen has built a company in the loyalty space. He previously was a co-founder and CEO of Giftango, a platform for prepaid digital gift cards that was acquired by InComm in late 2012.

Consumers will have to choose their Bumped loyalty partner in each category, like burgers

That previously experience has helped the company build an extensive roster for launch. Bumped has 19 brands participating in the beta, including Chipotle, Netflix, Shake Shack, Walgreens, and The Home Depot. Another 6 brands are currently papering contracts with the firm.

Ciporin of Canaan said that he wanted to fund something new in the loyalty space. “There has been just a complete lack of innovation in the loyalty space,” he explained to me. “I think about it as Robinhood meets airline points programs.” One major decider for Ciporin in making the investment was academic research, such as this paper by Jaakko Aspara, showing that becoming a shareholder in a company tended to make consumers significantly more loyal to those brands.

In the short run, Bumped heads into a crowded loyalty space that includes companies like Drop, which I have covered before on TechCrunch. Nelsen believes that the stock ownership model is “an entirely different mechanism” in loyalty, and that makes it “hard to compare” to other loyalty platforms.

Longer term, he hints at exploring how to offer this sort of equity loyalty model to small and medium businesses, a significantly more complex challenge given the lack of liquid markets for their equity. Today, the company is exclusively focused on publicly-traded companies.

Bumped today has 14 people, and is targeting a team size of around 20 employees.

Source: Mobile – Techcruch

Watch Rocket Lab’s first commercial launch, ‘It’s Business Time’ [Update: Postponed]

Watch Rocket Lab’s first commercial launch, ‘It’s Business Time’ [Update: Postponed]
Rocket Lab, the New Zealand-based rocket company that is looking to further amplify the commercial space frenzy, is launching its first fully paid payload atop an Electron rocket tonight — technically tomorrow morning at the launch site. If successful, it will mark a significant new development in the highly competitive world of commercial launches.
Update: Sorry folks but not today. The company said it will announce a new target soon, while the launch window remains July 6.
Liftoff is planned for 2:10 in the morning local time in New Zealand, or 7:10 Pacific time in the U.S.; the live stream will start about 20 minutes before that.

The Electron rocket is a far smaller one than the Falcon 9s we see so frequently these days, with a nominal payload of 150 kilograms, just a fraction of the many tons that we see sent up by SpaceX. But that’s the whole point, Rocket Lab’s founder, CEO and chief engineer Peter Beck told me recently.
“You can go buy a spot on a big launch vehicle, but they’re not very frequent. With a small rocket you can choose your orbit and choose your schedule,” he said. “That’s what we’re driving at here: regular and reliable access to space.”
An Electron rocket launching during a previous test
Just like not every car on the road has to be a big rig, not every rocket needs to be a Saturn V; 150 kilos is more than enough to fill with paying customers and cover the cost of launch. And Beck told me there is no shortage whatsoever of paying customers.
“The most important part of the mission is the timing in which we manifested it,” he explained (manifesting meaning having a payload added to the manifest). “We went from nothing manifested to a full payload in about 12 weeks.”
For comparison, some missions or payloads will wait literally years before there’s an opportunity to get to the orbit they need. Loading up just a few weeks ahead of time is unusual, to say the least.
Today’s launch will carry satellites from Spire, Tyvak/GeoOptics, students at UC Irvine and High Performance Space Structure Systems; you can see the specifics of these on the manifest (PDF). It’s not the first time an Electron has taken a paid payload to orbit, but it is the first fully commercialized launch.
Rocket Lab has no ambitions for interplanetary travel, sending people to space or anything like that. It just wants to take 150 kilograms to orbit as often as it can, as inexpensively as it can.
“We’re not interested in building a bigger rocket, we’re interested in building more of this one,” Beck said. “The vehicle is fully dialed in; we started from day one with this vehicle designed from a production approach. We’re fully vertically integrated, we don’t have any contractors, we do everything in-house. We’ve been scaling up the factories enormously.”
“We’re looking for a one-a-month cadence this year, then next year one every two weeks,” he continued. “Frequency is the key — it’s the choke point in space right now.”
Ultimately the plan is to get a rocket lifting off every few days. And if you think that will be enough to meet demand, just wait a couple years.

Source: Gadgets – techcrunch

Pared picks up $10M to help restaurant employees live an on-demand life

Pared picks up M to help restaurant employees live an on-demand life

On the busiest nights, a restaurant can’t afford to even lose a dishwasher to getting sick or not being around — or simply ghosting on the company — and end up frustrating the whole experience for the rest of the staff and restaurant goers.

It’s a problem that Will Pacio was acutely familiar with during his time at Spice Kit, and it’s why he and Dave Lu — who didn’t really have much experience other than delivering Chinese food in high school, but wanted to get into the industry — started Pared. It essentially serves as an on-demand tool for restaurant workers, who might find themselves already working across multiple different jobs or multiple different restaurants and are looking for a lifestyle over which they have some more control. The company said it has raised a $10 million financing round led by CRV, with existing investors Uncork Capital and True Ventures also participating. CRV partner Saar Gur is joining the company’s board of directors.

“Even if I go [to Craigslist], it’ll take four to six weeks to get someone to show up,” Lu said. “You hire them, you train them, and then they don’t show up to work the very first day. Even if I paid overtime, I don’t have enough employees to cover the shifts. For [Pacio] it was a nightmare, and I just want to be able to tap an app to get that kid from Safeway across the street who knows how to make sandwiches and make them for me.”

The app largely focuses on back-of-the-house operations like line cooks, prep cooks, and dishwashers, though it could theoretically extend to any part of the restaurant experience. Restaurants go to the app and say they are looking for what the app calls a ‘Pro’ in whatever role they need, and are able to book the employee right away for the slot they have in their schedule. It might come at a slight premium over the typical hire, but restaurants are already willing to pay overtime in order to cover those gaps and keep things moving smoothly, Lu said.

For employees, it’s a pretty similar experience — they see a job posted on the app, with a time slot, and they make themselves available for an hourly wage. The second benefit, Lu said, is that they can start to slowly make a name for themselves if they are able to prove out their skills and move up the ranks at any of those restaurants. The culinary community is a small one, he said, and it offers a lot of room to start building up a reputation as an exceptional chef or just finally get a first shot at a sauté position in the kitchen after working at the back of the house. That, too, might be part of the appeal of jumping on a service like Pared rather than just driving for Uber.

“On our platform, every shift and rating you get, every connection you get in the industry — and it’s a very tight network — you build up your own reputation or identity,” Lu said. “We’re helping them build up, it’s more like a race to the top than a race to the bottom. They start off as a prep cook, and they start getting offers for line cook positions. We might have videos for learning to do this or that. They can work their way up to build that reputation. It’s all about reputation, it’s about people you trust.”

And like Uber, that flexibility is one of the more critical selling points of the application. A line cook might want to spend some time in New York to learn the scene there, and with an app like Pared, they can get access to some potential openings at restaurants in the area. As their experience — and their reputation — builds up over time, Lu hopes Pared gets known as a launching point for many careers, in addition to just offering restaurant workers a more flexible lifestyle.

There are certainly larger platforms that aren’t just targeting the restaurant ecosystem, and look to be a more global hub for hourly workers. Shiftgig, which raised $20 million last year, is one interpretation of that idea. But by offering a more curated and focused experience — one for which a kind of aspirational chef might keep gravitating back toward because they hope to one day end up running their own kitchen — can help build up that reputation for having a reliable workforce that any restaurant can use.

Source: Mobile – Techcruch

August can now generate smart entry codes for Airbnb guests

August can now generate smart entry codes for Airbnb guests
August Lock is getting into the homesharing industry, making the process of checking in an Airbnb guest a bit easier.
Airbnb has done what it can over the past few months to make checking in plain and simple. For example, the company built out a new tool that lets hosts spell out check-in instructions within the app, all in a simple flow, to make sure guests have all the info they need at their fingertips.
But that hasn’t solved the biggest problem of all: the key.
For one, people don’t often have a lot of interest in meeting strangers, especially when they’re fresh off a plane or road trip. Secondly, it’s annoying to block out that time (sometimes getting off work) to go hand off a key to an Airbnb guest. And then there’s the matter of getting keys copied or re-tooling your smart lock to temporarily offer a stranger access.
That’s where August comes in to play.
August now let’s Airbnb and Homeaway hosts link their accounts to August. When a guest books at their home, August will generate a smart code that lasts for the duration of the stay and no longer, letting the guest easily check-in and come and go without the host having to babysit the process.
Guests will receive their pin code and instructions via email.
Hosts simply need an August Smart Lock and Smart Keypad to start letting technology do the heavy lifting. And, in fact, August is running a deal right now for 25 percent off the Smarter Hosting Bundle, which includes an August Smart Lock, August Connect Wi-Fi Bridge and August Smart Keypad.
This, coupled with other startup services like Handy, should make becoming an Airbnb host as simple as tapping a few buttons.

Source: Gadgets – techcrunch

EveryTeam raises $3M to create a living internal company lexicon

EveryTeam raises M to create a living internal company lexicon

As companies get bigger and bigger, all the critical information about a company — even its mission and culture statements — can get lost in a massive pile of Google Docs or files strewn across dozens of collaboration tools, making it nearly impossible to find. That’s where the team behind EveryTeam hopes to step in and clean things up.

EveryTeam serves as a sort of hub for all of the documents and core information about a company — a kind of living library that adapts over time and can easily suck in new information as it comes about. The idea is that employees might not necessarily be going to the same internal portal for that information, or might not be updating that portal, and the information continues to sit across multiple different buckets within a company. The company came about from former GitHubbers Todd Berman, Connor Sears, and Scott Goldman, which are looking to bring that same level of collaboration and simplicity to access to internal employee information. The startup said it has raised $3 million in a seed round from Harrison Metal, Upside Partnership, Index Ventures and Greylock Partners.

“People end up creating content in them but struggling to maintain content in these [internal communications] tools,” CEO Todd Berman said. “Whether they’re using a combination of Google Docs, or Dropbox Paper, or Confluence, there’s tons of people trying to do a lot of different things here. A lot of these tools are focused on the creation, where people felt there was a lot of opportunity. But for our potential customers, the issue is that their content is all over the place. it’s not in one spot.”

EVERYTEAM TOP

 

EveryTeam works to surface up those kinds of critical employee documents that are probably fine to just exist in some Google Drive somewhere very early on — which might include the information for the WiFi or the schedule for office snacks. But as more and more docs flow in, EveryTeam has to parse through all of those and ensure that the right important ones are surfaced up in front of everyone, especially as they become more and more important over time. For larger and large companies, that content management can get out of control and devolve into a lot of messages across the organization just to find a single document. EveryTeam integrates with GitHub, Google Drive, Dropbox, Figma, and Airtable among others.

“It ends up looking in a lot of cases like how GitHub works — GitHub is a tool to maintain, curate and publish software. You’re publishing source code, but a lot of the workflows feel very natural and feel very similar. Ultimately, where we ended up from a product perspective is, it’s more about being a layer on top of these services [like Box] to provide a plane of organization.”

EveryTeam isn’t the only startup looking to rethink the internal employee wiki. Slite, another startup looking to create an intelligent internal notes tool that can serve as a hub of information for employees, also said it raised $4.4 million earlier this year. The idea there is to bring the Slack-like simplicity that has become popular among employees — at least, at the startup level — to a variety of different areas that haven’t changed in a while. Internal note-taking, and that Wiki functionality, is one. EveryTeam decided to work with the idea that content is just going to exist all over the place anyway, and try to fit into the employee workflow that way.

“You want to curate and expose content that exists in ten to 12 different tools you use every day,” Berman said. “Ultimately, that’s part of my day-to-day flow. I’m usually in four to five web apps. When [some tools] take the Slack model they often get very focused on recency, and that determines an arbiter of value.[You have to think], what is the desire path for a document that becomes load-bearing in the company. It starts off a little weird, people edit it, it ideates and matures, and it stands the test of time. How do you create an application that helps that happen.”

Source: Mobile – Techcruch

Winnie raises $4 million to make parents’ lives easier

Winnie raises million to make parents’ lives easier

An app that has the needs of modern-day parents in mind, Winnie, has now raised $4 million in additional seed funding in a round led by Reach Capital. Other investors in the new round include Rethink Impact, Homebrew, Ludlow Ventures, Afore Capital, and BBG Ventures, among others. With the new funds, Winnie has raised $6.5 million to date.

The San Francisco-based startup, which begun its life as a directory of kid-friendly places largely serving the needs of newer parents, has since expanded to become a larger platform for parents.

Winnie was founded by Bay Area technologists, Sara Mauskopf, who spent time at Postmates, Twitter, YouTube and Google, and Anne Halsall, also from Postmates and Google, as well as Quora and Inkling.

As new parents themselves, they built Winnie out a personal need to find the sort of information parents crave – details you can’t easily dig up in Google Maps or Yelp.

For example, you can use Winnie to find nearby kid-friendly destinations like museums or parks, as well as those that welcome children with features like changing tables in restrooms, wide aisles in stores for stroller access, areas for nursing, and other things.

Winnie serves as a good example of what investing in women can achieve. Somehow, the young, 20-something men that receive the lion’s share of VC funding had never thought up the idea of app that helps new parents navigate the world. (I know, shocking, right?) And yet, the kind of questions that Winnie tries to answer are those that all parents, at some point, are curious about.

The data on Winnie is crowd-sourced, with details, ratings and reviews coming from other real parents. Listings in San Francisco may be more fleshed out than elsewhere, as that’s where Winnie got its start. However, the app is now available in 10,000 cities across the U.S., and has just surpassed over a million users.

In more recent months, Winnie has been working to expand beyond being a sort of “Yelp for parents,” and now features an online community where parents can ask questions and participate in discussions.

“The crowdsourced directory of family-friendly businesses is still a huge component of what we do…and this has grown to over 2 million places across the United States,” notes Winnie co-founder and CEO Sara Mauskopf. “But we also have these real-time answers to any parenting question from this authentic, supportive community,” she says, referring to Winnie’s online discussions.

The idea is that parents will be searching the web for answers to questions about toddler sleep issues or good local preschools or breastfeeding help, and Winnie’s answers will come up in search results, similar to other Q&A sites like Quora or Yahoo Answers.

“A lot of younger millennial parents are turning to Google to find answers to these questions,” adds Winnie co-founder and CPO Anne Halsall. “So we want to have the answer to these questions at the ready, and we want to have the best page. That’s an example of something that’s yield a lot of traffic for us, just because no one else had that data before Winnie,” she says.

Related to this expansion, Winnie is also serving this data across platforms, including – obviously – the web, in addition to its native app on iOS and Android. The hope is that, with the growth, business owners will come in to claim their pages on Winnie.com, too, and update their information.

In the near-term, the founders say they’ll put the funding to use building out more personalization features.

“As a technology company, we have a unique opportunity to give you this really tailored experience that grows with your family over time – so as your children are getting older, and you’re entering new phases of development, our product’s adapting and putting relevant information in front of you,” Halsall says. 

Data on businesses serving the needs of parents with older kids – like summer camps or driver’s ed classes, for example – are the kind of things Winnie will focus on as it grows to include information for more parents, instead of just those with younger children and babies.

Winnie will also use the funds to hire additional engineers to help it scale its platform.

Esteban Sosnik from Reach Capital joined Hunter Walk from Homebrew on Winnie’s board as a result of the funding.

The app is a free download for iOS and Android, and is available on the web at Winnie.com.

Source: Mobile – Techcruch

Citymapper lets you find Ofo, Mobike and scooters around you

Citymapper lets you find Ofo, Mobike and scooters around you

Urban transportation app Citymapper quietly rolled out an app update that lets you find many alternative mobility services in the app. You can now find the nearest dockless bike or electric scooter around you (not the Bird and Lime kind, the motorcycle kind).

The integrations are already live in many cities. The company didn’t add new buttons for each service because it was already getting quite crowded with buses, subways and ride-sharing services.

If you tap the bike button, you get a map view of the streets around you. In addition to traditional bike-sharing services, you’ll now find colored dots representing both Ofo and Mobike . Below the map, you get a list of the closest bikes. TechCrunch’s Ingrid Lunden previously reported that the Mobike integration was coming soon.

But Citymapper also added a new scooter button in multiple cities. As the name suggests, this button helps you locate the closest free-floating scooter that you can unlock with your phone.

In Paris, you’ll find Coup and Cityscoot scooters. In Berlin, you’ll find Coup scooters. In Madrid and Barcelona, you’ll find Muving, ioscoot, eCooltra and Yugo scooters… You get the idea. Chances are all your local options will be there.

Interestingly, electric scooters from Bird and Lime aren’t in there just yet. It might be what everybody is talking about, but you’ll only see Jump and Ford bikes in San Francisco.

For now, all you can do is locate the nearest bike or scooter. You still have to open each individual app to scan the QR code and unlock those vehicles.

But this is an interesting approach. Citymapper doesn’t operate any transportation service. It can be an agnostic player and provide a comprehensive view of what’s around you without any conflict of interest. It doesn’t have to recreate a transportation hub like Lyft or Uber as those two companies recently acquired Motivate and Jump to provide bike-sharing services.

And if you’re visiting a city for the first time, you can open the app to find out how you’ll be able to navigate that new city.

Source: Mobile – Techcruch

Twitter buys a startup to battle harassment, e-cigs are booming, and a meditation app is worth $250M

Twitter buys a startup to battle harassment, e-cigs are booming, and a meditation app is worth 0M

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week TechCrunch’s Silicon Valley Editor Connie Loizos and I jammed out on a couple of topics as Alex Wilhelm was out managing his fake stock game spreadsheets or something. (The jury is out on whether this was a good or bad thing.)

First up is Twitter buying Smyte, a startup targeting fixes for spam and abuse. This is, of course, Twitter’s perennial problem and it’s one that it’s been trying to fix for some time — but definitely not there yet. The deal terms weren’t disclosed, but Twitter to its credit has seen its stock basically double this year (and almost triple in the past few years). Twitter is going into a big year, with the U.S. midterm elections, the 2018 World Cup, and the Sacramento Kings probably finding some way to screw up in the NBA draft. This’ll be a close one to watch over the next few months as we get closer to the finals for the World Cup and the elections. Twitter is trying to bill itself as a home for news, focusing on live video, and a number of other things.

Then we have Juul Labs, an e-cigarette company that is somehow worth $10 billion. The Information reports that the PAX Labs spinout from 2015 has gone from a $250 million valuation all the way to $10 billion faster than you can name each scooter company that’s raising a new $200 million round from Sequoia that will have already been completed by the time you finish this sentence. Obviously the original cigarette industry was a complicated one circa the 20th century, so this one will be an interesting one to play out over the next few years.

Finally, we have meditation app Calm raising a $27 million round at a $250 million pre-money valuation. Calm isn’t the only mental health-focused startup that’s starting to pick up some momentum, but it’s one that’s a long time coming. I remember stumbling upon Calm.com back in 2012, where you’d just chill out on the website for a minute or so, so it’s fun to see a half-decade or so later that these apps are showing off some impressive numbers.

That’s all for this week, we’ll catch you guys next week. We apologize in advance if Alex makes it back on to the podcast.

Equity  drops every Friday at 6:00 am PT, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercast, Pocketcast, Downcast and all the casts.

Source: Mobile – Techcruch

Lydia now supports Samsung Pay

Lydia now supports Samsung Pay

While French banks are just catching up to Apple Pay, French startup Lydia is adding support for Samsung Pay. If you have a recent Samsung phone, you can now add a virtual card to Samsung Pay and pay using your phone in your favorite stores.

Lydia started as a peer-to-peer payment app. It works more or less like Venmo or Square Cash in the U.S. After signing up, you can add a debit card to your account and send and receive money for free. You can withdraw your balance to a traditional bank account whenever you want.

The company has been adding more features to turn Lydia into the only banking app you need. You can now connect Lydia to your bank accounts, view your balances, get an IBAN, initiate transfers, create Lydia sub-accounts with multiple people and get a physical MasterCard.

Some features are now part of a premium subscription for €2.99 per month ($3.47) or €3.99 per month with the physical card ($4.62). The company also expanded to the U.K., Ireland, Spain and Portugal. There are a million registered users on Lydia.

More interestingly, Lydia wants to go beyond peer-to-peer payments. You can use Lydia to pay in some grocery stores, such as Franprix stores. You can also pay online by receiving a push notification and confirming the transaction in the Lydia app — Cdiscount supports Lydia for instance.

And when you can’t pay with your Lydia account directly, the startup doesn’t want to play favorites. You can generate a virtual card and enter the card number on an e-commerce website. You can add this virtual card to Apple Pay or Samsung Pay. Let’s see if Google Pay is next.

This could be particularly interesting for users who can’t use those payment systems because their banks don’t support those features. Let’s be honest, you rarely change your bank. With Lydia, you can still use Apple Pay or Samsung Pay with your existing bank account.

Source: Mobile – Techcruch