Startups Venture

Chime Reaches 5M Accounts As Rival Acorns Reaches 6.2M

In the Great Neo-Bank Account Accretion War, there are new performance numbers to chew on.

Today CNBC reported that Chime, a neo-bank we’ve covered before, picked up one million new accounts since June. Chime now has five million accounts, and its CEO Chris Britt indicated to the publication that when his company was smaller it took four years to collect one million subscribers—the same feat it accomplished during 2019’s Summer season.

Growth looks quick at Chime, a fintech startup which raised $200 million, led by DST, in March of this year. The company’s other roughly $100 million in historically raised capital comes from Menlo Ventures, Cathay Innovation (a firm I recently interviewed and should write about), Aspect Ventures, and Crosslink Capital.

Looking back through the public archives, here are a few milestones regarding Chime’s growth:

  • Summer, 2018: 1 million accounts.
  • March 2019: 3 million accounts (“triple” its tally from “last summer”).
  • June 2019: 4 million accounts (“quadrupled its customer base to 4 million in a single year”).
  • September 2019: 5 million accounts.

Chime was founded in 2013, so you can see the company’s growth has mostly come in the past 12 to 18 months. Those growth figures do come after the firm raised its two largest rounds: its May 2018 $70 million Series C and the previously-mentioned $200 million round from March 2019.

The firm, therefore, had more capital on-hand to help it power its growth figures. We’ve covered both the rise in neo-banking capital infusions, the rising customer acquisition costs in the space, and the impact that the sector’s growth appetite is having on incumbents.

Competition

In the spirit of fairness, I reached out to Acorns, which works in similar spaces as Chime (the two don’t like to be compared directly), regarding its account growth history. The company got back to Crunchbase News this evening. We’ve included their new number in the below, which includes numbers found in various media reports:

Plotting both companies’ accounts growth onto the same chart, we get this:

Chime_Acorns_UserBase

What seems plain is that both companies have seen rapid account growth in recent quarters. We lack sufficient data to make a claim about which business is performing better; account growth is not the same thing as revenue growth, and it’s not incredibly clear which company is growing the most quickly given that we have somewhat scattered information.

But the good news for both firms is that there is enough market demand for them both to grow at the same time. And, they have reached sufficient scale to be considered material companies, at least from an accounts perspective.

Now the question becomes how much low-hanging growth is there left in the market and how quickly each firm can scale revenue off their existing customers.

How about some revenue figures, Acorns and Chime?

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias.

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