Before we do anything, we want to start this year with a HUGE thank you to all our loyal users, our new investors, dedicated partners, amazing team as well as our long suffering friends and families. Together, you have all made 2018 the best year for Oval yet.
2018 was the year that Oval Money became an adolescent. Whilst 2017 was the year that we worked on finding the initial product market fit, last year was defined by our user growth, the development of our Oval communities, and by the launch of the of the investments feature that completed our vision for a holistic solution to track, learn save and invest.
We started the year with a BOOM with a crowdfunding campaign for £500,000 that was oversubscribed in less than 72hours! We are so grateful for our network of over 1000 investors that have believed in us and have backed our vision - so thank you all again for the support.
Whilst focusing on our product, we worked to bring on board new investment. To this end we obtained the support of Intesa SanPaolo, the largest retail bank in Italy. Having this validation, while maintaining our independence, was an amazing way to continue to grow in the Italian market. In fact, today more than 70% of our user base is in Italy. In the UK we were delighted to join the Natwest Accelerator and start exploring opportunities to partner in different areas of our business.
If, on the one side, 2018 was about gaining the notice and support of big banking, the other side of the year was definitely about our users. It was developing these relationships that brought us our real joy this year. We had 55,000 conversations and 6,500 store reviews. We had 4 face to face focus groups and engaged with our Facebook communities thousands of times. This allowed us to really get to know our community of Ovalers, to get their feedback, and to always stay on top of their needs so that they could get the best out of Oval Money and be wiser about their money.
But this is just the beginning! 2019 is the year where we will strengthen the investment section with more and more options, becoming the financial platform that our users look for to deal with any financial needs, whilst always staying centred on saving for a financially safer future.
This year Oval will also grow to new European markets where we will bring everything we've learned over the last two years to new communities.
It is also the year we will continue to develop new financial education hacks, as we truly believe we can use technology and data to improve people's financial lives in the long run.