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Chime Research 8 months 2 days ago #38

  • dsamraj
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Description

Chime is a San Francisco based startup founded in 2013 [1] by Chris Britt and Ryan King. Britt currently serves as CEO, while King serves as CTO. [2] The main product of the startup is the Chime app, a mobile banking app with no minimum balance requirement or monthly fees. [3]

Market Demand

The market demand for online banking apps has risen greatly in the past year. One reason is rather straightforward, given the pandemic people are shifting many of their activities to online and attempting to limit in person interactions. However, there is another more nuanced reason that demand is growing. Digital banks were able to process government stimulus payments and back pay for workers quicker than traditional banks which led to positive word of mouth. [4]

Profitability

While based off the above one can assume Chime did well in this year, no specifics were provided. [4] However, as of September 2020 Chime’s management indicated that the firm was profitable. [6]

Competition

Chime does have competitors in the mobile app banking space. Current and Varo are two of Chime’s competitors that also have performed extremely well in the past year. Varo doubled its number of customers over the past year rising from 1 million accounts by end of 2019 to 2 million accounts by end of 2020. Current doubled its number of customers in the period June 2020 to November 2020 and its revenue rose five-fold in 2020. [4]

Hacking Scandal

With Chime and its competitors doing well, mistakes can prove costly for Chime. Chime has had issues with accounts being hacked. CBS Chicago wrote an account of a man who mysteriously lost $1200 from his account. Chime returned the money and stated there was an error but denied that accounts had been hacked. CBS Chicago indicates that the issue is more widespread, with more complains regarding accounts being hacked on Chime’s BBB page, along with comments Chime has made in social media [5] . Given that this story was released today, it is still developing and if substantial could mean that Chime will slip compared to its competitors.

Funding

In Chime’s latest funding round in September 2020, Chime raised $485M to put it at valuation of $14.5B. 18 months ago Chime’s valuation was $1.5B, just slightly 10% more than its current valuation. Several firms were investors including Coatue, Whale Rock Capital, and DST Global. [6].  To date, Chime has had a total cap raise of $1.5B [1].

Conclusion

Chime is the center of the mobile app banking market which is rapidly expanding. However, Chime faces competition and internal security challenges. With these opposing forces, Chime is an interesting company to watch as it is potentially set to make an IPO soon.

Articles for Further Reading (and in part used to create this post)

[1] (crunchbase): www.crunchbase.com/organization/chime-2
[2] (chime-1): www.chime.com/about-us/
[3] (chime-2): www.chime.com/online-banking/
[4] (reuters): www.reuters.com/article/usa-banks-stimul...posits-idUSL4N2JG2KX
[5] (CBS Chicago): chicago.cbslocal.com/2021/01/18/furlough...t-it-freaked-me-out/
[6] (CNBC): www.cnbc.com/2020/09/18/chime-is-now-wor...nsumer-fintech-.html

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