Confirmed: UK challenger bank Monzo raises £19.5M with another £2.5M in crowdfunding planned



Monzo, one of a number of so-called “challenger” banks in the U.K. aiming to re-invent the current account, has disclosed a new funding round.

Confirming most of the details from our report earlier this week, the startup has raised £19.5 million from U.S.-based Thrive Capital, London’s Passion Capital, and Orange Digital Ventures, the venture arm of telco Orange. They are investing £13 million, £5 million, and £1.5 million, respectively.

The London-based company is also planning to raise an additional £2.5 million through another equity crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube. The combined round pegs Monzo at a pre-money valuation of £65 million.

Given how quickly Monzo reached its earlier £1 million crowdfunding raise — which spectacularly closed in 96 seconds — it shouldn’t have any problem placing this new offering. In fact, the startup is making specific plans to handle the anticipated demand:

Monzo will host a pre-registration period from February 28 – March 14 when any of its customers can express their interest in investing. The total amount pledged will be displayed in real-time on Monzo’s website, followed by a ballot to randomly select the people who’ll be able to authorise their investments from March 14.

The new combined funding, which will bring total raised to £35 million, will be used by Monzo as it readies for a full bank launch later this year. As it exists today, Monzo’s more than 100,000 users get access to a pre-paid MasterCard and accompanying iOS and Android apps. It offers the ability to do things like track your spending in real time, view geolocation-marked transactions on a map, view spending by category and get a graphical timeline of your overall expenditure.

Once it has launched a fully-fledged current account, Monzo says it will initially make money by offering “transparent overdrafts without hidden fees or charges,” but plans to diversify away from traditional banking business models in the longer term. “The company will aim to give its customers one-click access to a broad range of financial products from third parties as part of a move towards ‘banking as a marketplace’,” it says.

Meanwhile, as we noted when TechCrunch broke this story on Monday, Monzo isn’t the first European fintech to receive backing from New York-headquartered Thrive Capital. The VC firm, founded by Josh Kushner, recently led a €30 million Series C round in German fintech Raisin, which offers pan-European savings accounts.

However, it does leave the door open for Monzo to launch in the U.S. sometime in the future. And although this isn’t a concrete plan or likely to happen any time soon, co-founder and CEO Tom Blomfield has made no secret of his ambition to bring Monzo across the pond at some point, something he re-iterated in a very brief call last night. He has previously spent some time living in New York, which is actually how he first came into contact with the folk at Thrive Capital.

Listen to TechCrunch’s recent interview with Monzo co-founder Tom Blomfield



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