Osper closes £6m funding round

The firm which markets prepaid debit cards for children plans to roll out the business across the Uk

  Photo: Oleksiy Maksymenko Photography / Alamy

Panini stickers, loom bands and Moshi Monsters are no longer the coolest fads in the playground. These days, all the little ones want their personal, vivid orange, pre-paid debit card, claims a new fintech entrepreneur.

This new plastic for children has been issued by former maths instructor and ex-Spotify executive Alick Varma. He launched Osper in January 2012 as a way to aid kids to learn how to control funds at an early age.

“Young people are not conserving and they do not realize how to budget,” he explains. “Many of them really don’t understand that credit cards need to be paid off, and one particular in 5 8-eleven yr olds use their parents’ credit score cards with out permission. Last 12 months, £190m was invested on these cards with out parental consent.”

Osper has closed a $ 10m (£6m) funding round, led by Index Ventures, which has previously backed SoundCloud, Etsy and Just-Eat. The new funding tops up a earlier seed round of £800,000 in June 2013.

The money will allow founder Varma to roll out the enterprise across the Uk. Right after the model is established in the Uk, he plans to export the Osper concept overseas.

Osper is more than just a payment device. The subscription support attributes a fiscal app. The app is downloaded by both mother or father and little one, and can be utilised to transfer cash from the parent’s account instantaneously.

Whilst debit cards can be issued to youngsters as youthful as 11 in the United kingdom, Osper has struck a new deal with Mastercard that enables youngsters as youthful as eight to open an Osper account.

According to Mr Varma, his vibrant orange cards are fast turning out to be a standing symbol in United kingdom playgrounds. “Young people really like getting the card. It is a obligation but it’s thrilling as well.”

Index Ventures’ Robin Klein joined Osper’s board following the funding round and the start off-up boasts an enviable roster of additional investors.

Financial nous will be supplied by Peter Jackson, ex-CEO of Travelex, who sold Travelex’s prepaid income card organization to Mastercard for £290m, as nicely as Funding Circle co-founder Samir Desai, and ex-chairman of Sainbury’s Bank Darren Chaplin.

Confirmed entrepreneurs Brett Akker, co-founder of Streetcar and boss of LoveSPACE, Jawbone’s Alexander Asseily, and co-founder of Skyscanner Barry Walker have also invested in the start-up.

Further investors contain California-based Horizon Ventures, which holds an equity stake in Hutchison Whampoa, proprietor of the Three mobile network. Television presenter Davina McCall also invested in the series A round.

Even so, Mr Varma retains the majority shareholding.

The company is currently in the middle of its beta testing phase. In the final six months, a lot more than £10,000 has been given to youthful people by means of Osper cards.

Osper’s income model is subscription-primarily based. The app and card are free of charge for the first year and £10 per annum thereafter. The subscription also features a fiscal app. The app is downloaded by each mother or father and kid, and can be used to transfer funds from the parent’s account immediately.

For the little one, the debit card is an independent signifies to pay out for products and services, rather than employing parents’ financial institution cards or money. But, crucially, the app gives each mother or father and child a comprehensive breakdown of all transactions manufactured via the card.

“For the initial time as a parent, rather than offering the child cash and knowing nothing about what it is invested on, you can place it on the card and see the transactions, prompting a conversation about in which they are investing their income,” says Varma.

Whilst the notion behind the business is to pass financial obligation onto the kid, Varma has opted to block specified categories on the card. Osper cannot be used in pubs or for on-line gambling, for illustration.

To launch the organization, Varma has to strike discounts with seven partners. These consist of Mastercard, issuing bank IDT, and acquirer Worldpay.

There are currently 7m youthful individuals aged 8-18 in the United kingdom, which represents a substantial opportunity, he claims. “There are tons of exciting fintech start off-ups out there at the moment but none have gone head on with core banking like we have,” he says. “We’re going after the heartland of banking.”

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