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UK fintech Monese nears 'unicorn status' with talks of £100m deal

By Amanda Cooper

Mobile banking app is in talks with investors over a deal that would push its value up to £1bn

UK fintech Monese nears unicorn status

UK fintech firm Monese is in talks with investors over a deal that would see it become the latest British billion-pound unicorn, according to media reports.

The Financial Times said Monese, which offers mobile-only banking to customers in the UK and other European countries via an app, said the company was seeking to raise £100m ($131m, €118m) from new and existing investors in the first half of 2020, citing three people close to the company.

Monese specialises in helping people who have poor credit histories who might ordinarily struggle to open an account with a traditional bank, such as recent immigrants, students or freelancers.

The company's chief executive, Norris Koppel, declined to comment directly on the bank’s negotiations, but acknowledged: “it’s clear another [investment] round has to happen. What we are intending to do with our next raise is raise enough capital to take us all the way through to profitability,” the FT reported.

Monese told CityAM two million people had signed up to its banking service and was on track to hit five million in 2020 at its current rate, with customer growth having tripled last year. More than 9,000 people sign up every day, the company said.

"It took 42 months to get to one million customers and only eight months to reach today’s milestone. We started Monese with one goal – to provide financial freedom anywhere and everywhere," Koppel told CityAM. “We’re beginning to expand this and are seeing huge popularity in big global cities across Europe.”

Koppel declined to comment on the company’s fundraising efforts. With a valuation of £1bn, Monese would earn “unicorn status”, along with rival challenger banking services Monzo, Revolut and OakNorth.

Monese’s last major fundraising was in September 2018, when it secured $60m from a series B funding round that involved PayPal, British Airways parent company IAG and Augmentum Fintech.

FURTHER READING: UK tech sector growth outpaced US and China in 2019

FURTHER READING: London’s fintech sector attracts record levels of US investment in 2019

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