Chime, which CEO Chris Britt co-founded in 2013, provides clients mobile banking accounts without charges, debit cards and automated teller machine (ATM) access. The company is geared toward U.S. consumers who make from $30,000 to $75,000 annually.
Chime primarily makes money as clients use their cards in comparison to typical financial institutions that make money on fines and debt.
“Nobody wants to go into bank branches, nobody wants to touch cash anymore, and people are increasingly comfortable living their lives through their phones,” Britt said, per CNBC. “We have a website, but people don’t really use it. We’re a mobile app, and that’s how we deliver our services.”
Britt also noted in the report that the company is more akin to a consumer software firm than a financial institution.
Chime's newest round, a Series F, brought in $485 million. The company will be “IPO-ready” within a year, according to Britt. However, the timeline is not set in stone.
Chime’s funding comes on the heels of free-trading app Robinhood’s fundraise in August at a valuation of $11.2 billion.
The news comes as American investors are still hot to back up-and-coming firms such as Chime.
“For the best companies, the money spigot is wide open,” Index Ventures Partner Mark Goldberg previously told the Financial Times. “If it’s an obviously top 10 percent company, there’s just a huge amount of money being thrown at them by the VC world."
The Prime Unicorn Index increased 58.4 percent through Q3 2019 and was on pace to be the second-best year following 2011, according to a January report. The index measures startups with a value in excess of half a billion that are venture capital-backed.
In addition, Pitchbook indicated that investments from non-traditional backers jumped more than 80 percent in 2018 in contrast to 2017.