The credit card for foodies
🦄 Unicorner Startup of the Week: Yonder
✍️ Notes from the Editors
Welcome to the 161 new readers who joined us last week! We’re excited to have you here, and even more excited to share some incredible companies with you.
We know it’s the 15th, but we’d like to wish all the mothers in our community a Happy (belated) Mother’s Day. Thank you for all that you do! 🌹
On that note, you might have been meticulously looking through restaurants for a special Mother’s Day experience yesterday. For our UK readers, Yonder helps with that selection by curating interesting culinary experiences, redeemable using points you earn. Let us know what you think about this model by responding to this email.
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The credit card for foodies
Yonder is a credit card made for foodies. Customers can earn rewards on their purchases and cash them in for “experiences” provided to them in the app. These experiences earn 5x points. In addition to the benefits provided on food, the company also provides travel-related benefits such as trip cancellation, no travel fees, rental car insurance, missed/delayed departure credit, and more.
🔗 Check it out: yondercard.com
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💰 Business Model
Yonder generates income through membership fees (£15/month), interchange fees from Mastercard, interest from lending, and partnerships.
📈 Traction and Fundraising
Raised £62.5 million Series A (£12.5 million in equity, and £50 million in debt) from investors like Northzone and RTP Global alongside angel investors Joseph Moore (founder of Crust Bros), Kunal Shah (founder of Cred), Sharmadean Reid, Matt Robinson (GoCardless) and Rio Ferdinand
Ongoing crowdfunding campaign for Yonder’s members and non-members with £12.5+ million raised
Average customer gets over £400 in rewards per year, with around £1,350 monthly spend
Tim Chong, CEO: Previously Head of Product @ ClearScore, Growth Strategy Manager @ Accenture, MBA @ London Business School, Business Information Systems @ Monash University
Harry Jell, CTO: Previously Lead Developer @ ClearScore, Software Developer @ OpenMarket, Computer Science with Artificial Intelligence @ University of Southampton
Theso Jivajirajah, Chief Risk Officer: Previously Data Science Lead @ ClearScore, Risk Analyst @ Vanquis Bank, Risk Advisory @ Deloitte, Product Manager @ Commonwealth Bank, Account & Finance @ Macquarie University
📖 Founder Story
Tim Chong, Harry Jell, and Theso Jivajirajah met through ClearScore, a credit score service provider, where they worked in product, software, and data science, respectively. The trio began working on Yonder after struggling to find appealing credit options available for non-residents working and living in the U.K. After securing FCA authorization, which is required by financial institutions in the U.K., in nine months, they began building their unique offering. Their team has scaled slowly to keep operations sustainable, and they have plans to grow to a headcount of 35 by the end of this year.
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🔮 Our Analysis
At Unicorner, we’re no strangers to innovative credit card companies. For instance, Bilt was the first company in Unicorner history to receive double coverage when it earned the highly coveted Unicorn title. Yonder’s innovation comes in the form of its business model. With a monthly subscription fee, Yonder’s business model is more reminiscent of a SaaS subscription than a traditional credit card’s annual fee. This, combined with its use of Open Banking (a third-party financial rating system) instead of credit scores to award cards to applicants, makes the company a more accessible option to Millenials and Gen Z. These are target audiences that have less credit history and are more open to subscriptions than older generations. They conveniently love food, too, making the card an appealing option.
Yonder is also setting itself apart from traditional credit card companies with its point redemption system. In addition to standard benefits like points that don’t expire, Yonder has designed a reward system that makes it easy to turn points into a culinary experience. These experiences are curated by the Yonder team every month, and can either be paid for using points, or purchased normally with 5x points earned for every £1 spent.
It’ll be interesting to see how this model fares in the world of credit. On the one hand, foodies can make up for its monthly price if Yonder’s experiences are used frequently. But on the other hand, the current point redemption system could challenge the scope of Yonder’s growth. We’re curious to see how the company will scale beyond the U.K. with its recent funding and whether we’ll see this business model spread.
📚 Further Reading
Written by the editors
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