UK neobank Monzo secured £113 million ($144 million) in a Series F funding round led by Y Combinator Continuity, per Business Insider.
Business Insider Intelligence
This brings its valuation to a little over £2 billion ($2.6 billion) — double where it stood following its last raise in 2018, when it secured £20 million ($25.5 million) in crowdfunding. The funds will be used to support its US launch and the development of new products.
Here’s what it means: Monzo will need sufficient time and resources to figure out how to operate effectively in the US.
- While its launch across the pond comes in partnership with Sutton Bank, Monzo will eventually look to get regulated in the country. The neobank launched in the UK in 2015 but only received a full banking license two years later. Given that the UK regulator has granted at least 15 banking licenses to fintechs compared with the US, where no digital-only banks have received a full license yet, it may require significant capital and time for Monzo to achieve its goal.
- The US market is different than the UK’s, and it may take some experimenting for Monzo to nail its US proposition. Monzo expects meaningful product differences between the two countries, as people in the US manage their financial lives very differently than those in the UK, according to a TechCrunch interview with the neobank’s CEO Tom Blomfield. Figuring out and delivering on what US customers want from their bank could require significant experimentation, a capital-intensive activity, as is launching new products.
The bigger picture: The new funding comes with significant experience from Y Combinator Continuity, but Monzo may want to focus on covering its own capital needs going forward.
- Neobanks have had an easy time raising capital, but that shouldn’t distract them from their ultimate goal — sustainability. Monzo’s raise comes only eight months after its prior funding round, while N26 similarly secured $300 million in January only 10 months after a $160 million round. But most neobanks have been struggling with profitability as well as converting customers to using them as their primary bank. The percentage of active customers who deposit a minimum of £1,000 ($1,275) per month into their Monzo accounts is between 27-30%, for example, per TechCrunch.
- Focusing on generating additional revenue and incentivizing customers to use Monzo as their main account should be of primary importance to the neobank — and its marketplace could help on both counts.Monzo launched its savings pots late last year to offer third-party savings products for a fee. It currently has agreements with savings providers Investec, OakNorth, and Shawbrook. Looking to expand its marketplace further and attract more partners on its platform, which could range from pension, insurance, and wealth management providers, could help Monzo generate significant fee-related revenue while becoming a one-stop shop for customers.
Want to learn more?
The Fintech Ecosystem Report from Business Insider Intelligence details the recent developments in fintech funding and regulation that are defining the environment these startups operate in. It examines the business model changes being employed among different categories of fintechs as they strive to embed themselves further in mainstream finance and prove sustainability, as well as which elements of the industry are rubbing off on incumbent financial services providers.
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