Monzo, the U.K. challenger bank with more than 4 million customers, has confirmed it has closed £60 million in top-up funding.
Backing the round are existing investors Y Combinator, General Catalyst, Accel, Stripe, Goodwater, Orange, Thrive and Passion Capital, along with new investors Reference Capital and Vanderbilt University.
One of fintech’s worst-kept secrets, the down round sees the bank take a 40% hit in its paper pre-money valuation compared to its previous round, now priced at £1.24 billion.
That’s likely a reflection of the current funding climate amidst the coronavirus crisis, with Monzo having to raise a bridge round at quite possibly the worst time.
I also understand from sources that a number of Monzo’s later-stage investors played hardball, in a bid to force down the challenger bank’s ticket price, perhaps after investing at the height of the funding market pre-COVID-19. What is also interesting about the new round is that the share price is the same as the bank’s last equity crowdfund, meaning that the most recent armchair investors haven’t seen a paper loss.
Monzo is also disclosing that its business banking product has now reached 25,000 signups. Launched officially in March, the business bank account is aimed at sold traders and SMEs, with both free and premium paid-for versions available, offering various feature sets.
Meanwhile, it has been a turbulent time for Monzo, as it, along with many other fintech companies, tries to insulate itself from the coronavirus crisis and resulting economic downturn.
Planned layoffs in the U.K. were communicated internally earlier this month — up to 120, but now thought to be around 80. It followed earlier U.S. layoffs and the shuttering of its Las Vegas-based customer support office, and almost 300 U.K. staff being furloughed.
Like other banks and fintechs, the coronavirus crisis has resulted in Monzo seeing customer card spend reduce at home and (of course) abroad, meaning it is generating significantly less revenue from interchange fees. The bank has also postponed the launch of premium paid-for consumer accounts, one of only a handful of known planned revenue streams, alongside lending, of course, and the more recent business banking.
Separately, in May, Monzo co-founder Tom Blomfield announced internally that he was stepping down as CEO of the U.K. challenger bank to take up the newly created role of president. His replacement is current U.S. CEO TS Anil, who now also holds the title of “Monzo UK Bank CEO,” subject to regulatory approval.