More departures are taking place at Bó, the digital bank developed by RBS-owned Natwest. Following the departure of Bó CEO Mark Bailie in January, the latest to seek a new opportunity is chief product officer Ollie Purdue, TechCrunch has learned.
According to sources, Purdue is joining Antler, the company builder and early-stage venture capital firm that operates in Amsterdam, London, New York, Stockholm, Sydney, Nairobi and Singapore. He’s expected to join the VC in the next few weeks as a Partner, bringing his product background and expertise to Antler. Prior to working at Bó, Purdue founded millennial bank account Loot in 2014 while still at University, aged just 20.
Founded in 2018 by Magnus Grimeland (co-founder of Zalora, which sold to Global Fashion Group), and initially launched in Singapore, Antler runs a company-builder program in multiple locations, not entirely dissimilar to London-headquartered Entrepreneur First, which pioneered the pre-team, pre-idea model of talent investing.
Like EF, Antler invites applicants to apply to its various programs with the aim of helping them find a co-founder and settle on a new startup idea. It provides a stipend for the first two months to cover participants’ basic living costs, and then pre-seed funding. In addition, later-stage capital is also available for successful companies, with Antler operating local funds in each geography.
Meanwhile, Purdue has a coloured history with Bó, and RBS specifically. RBS was an investor in Loot and the incumbent bank was thought to be close to acquiring the startup before ultimately pulling out of the deal. This led to Loot scrambling for additional funding, which it was unable to obtain in time before running out of cash entirely after existing investors decided not to follow on.
Not long after, Purdue and around 17 other ex-Loot team members — spanning product, marketing and design functions — were recruited to Bó by then CEO Bailie.
I’ve reached out to Bó/RBS and will update this post if and when I hear back.
Update (15.50 GMT):
Magnus Grimeland, CEO and Founder of Antler, provided TechCrunch with the following statement: “At Antler, we back founders who demonstrate that they have the grit and determination that it takes to build a business. That’s why we’re excited to have Ollie on board. He’s an entrepreneur, he’s rolled his sleeves up, and knows what it takes to build. We’re also excited to be growing the Antler team at this moment. At a time when there’s a lot of uncertainty in the tech industry, we are very pleased to be reaffirming our commitment to early-stage startups and supporting exceptional entrepreneurs, by growing our presence in London.”
Adds Ollie Purdue, Partner (UK) of Antler: “I can’t wait to get started at Antler. The European technology industry is burgeoning with potential, and I’m keen to help the next generation of founders build world-beating companies. My personal experience is in fintech, which is one of many tech sectors in which you see a perfect combination of opportunity and talent.”