Plum, the U.K.-based “AI assistant” to help you manage your money and save more, has raised $3 million in additional funding — money it plans to use for further growth, including European expansion.
The London company has also quietly launched its app for Android phones, adding to an existing iOS app and Facebook Messenger chatbot.
Backing this round — which is essentially a second tranche to Plum’s earlier $4.5 million raise in the summer — is EBRD and VentureFriends, both existing investors. Christian Faes, founder and CEO of LendInvest has also participated.
It brings the fintech startup’s total funding to $9.3 million since being founded by early TransferWise employee Victor Trokoudes, and Alex Michael, in 2016.
The new investment is said to come at the end of a year of “rapid expansion for Plum” in both London and Athens, including growing the team to 31 employees. Senior hires include Max Mawby, Plum’s head of Behavioural Science, who previously worked for the U.K. government and ran the fintech sector-focused Behavioural Insights Team.
In a call, Trokoudes told me that take-up for Plum’s iOS app has been high and Android is also following a similar trajectory, proof that the startup’s AI assistant has perhaps outgrown its chatbot and Facebook Messenger beginnings (competitor Cleo has also released dedicated iOS and Android apps as an alternative to Facebook Messenger).
He also says Plum now has 650,000 registered users, of which around 70% are active monthly. In recent user feedback sessions conducted by the startup, the biggest draw to the app is that its aim of changing financial behaviour to help people save more appears to be working.
When users stick around using Plum for long enough, Trokoudes says they are surprised (and delighted) that it actually works.
Like similar apps, Plum’s “artificial intelligence” deems what you can afford to save by analysing your bank transactions. It then puts money away each month in the form of round-ups and/or regular savings.
You can open an ISA investment account and invest based on themes, such as only in “ethical companies” or technology. Another related feature is “Splitter,” which, as the name suggests, lets you split your automatic savings between Plum savings and investments, selecting the percentage amounts to go into each pot from 0-100%.
Trokoudes says that Plum recently launched two new “intelligent” saving rules: the 52-Week Challenge, which aims to help you save £1367 over a year; and the Rainy Day Rule, which puts aside money whenever it rains (yes, really!).
“Saving rules use automation to help people save more effectively without overloading them with information,” adds the Plum founder in a statement. “We have good evidence that this approach works: our automated round-ups feature, that we launched earlier this year has become a firm favourite among Plum users, boosting their savings by 50% on average.”
Meanwhile, another one of Plum’s competitors, Chip, recently raised £3.8 million in equity crowdfunding on Crowdcube. It was part of a round targeting $7.3 million in total, although it isn’t clear if all of that has closed yet (last time I checked the company had so far secured $5 million). Noteworthy, the equity crowdfund gave Chip a pre-money valuation of £36.78 million based on “over 153,000” accounts opened.