Wray Throws A Fintech Curve-Ball

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Betfair co-founder and now serial start-up investor Ed Wray has put his name to a new fintech start-up called Curve which has recently secured £1.4m in seed funding.

Curve is very secretive about exactly what form its final product will take the shape of, but its website promises it will be a replacement for retail banking cards. The company says it has released its first beta version and is now welcoming test users.

The company was founded by Shachar Bialick and alongside Wray it has some famous start-up funding names on its list of investors including London enterprise fund Seedcamp and TransferWise co-founder Taavet Hinrikus. The company said the £1.4m will be used to fund and develop the full beta version of the product.

Wray was reported to have sold up to £90m worth of his Betfair shares in October ahead of the merger with Paddy power which is likely to take place in the first quarter of 2016.

He also serves as a non-executive director of Funding Circle. Speaking in a Q&A session on the Finding Circle website back in 2013, he said he saw similarities between Betfair and Finding Circle in the way both companies utilised the power of the crowd. 

“They are both “network” businesses: the bigger they are, the better they are, and the better they become the bigger they become,” he told the website. “They both need modern technology to work and, as a result, are able to improve upon inefficient old-style business models that were designed without that technology input (i.e. banking and bookmaking).”
He also had some crucial advice for smaller companies in how they should look to grow their business. The advice comes down to a series of quest

•    What is the primary reason that people buy from you today? 
•    Make sure you know what your competitors are doing – how does your product compare? 
•    Where is it better and where is it worse? Buy from your competitors and understand how their process compares to yours. 
•    Does your customer base have a specific profile? Make sure that you are targeting your marketing effort at people who fit this profile rather than a broader audience. 

His final advice was about making sure the customer had an enjoyable experience. “Use positive recommendations from happy customers as part of your marketing and take onboard (and act on) what unhappy customers say. If someone engages with your company but then doesn’t buy, find out why – you often learn a lot more from these ‘negative’ experiences than you do from when you have a ‘positive’ sale.”

Wray and his fellow investors, including the Mayor of London’s Co-Investment Fund, Bank Tandem’s Ricky Knox and former Google Wallet employees, will be hoping that Curve’ ‘next-generation’ of payment card will be similarly disruptive as Betfair.