Described as “a bank for people who hate banks”, Mondo is still awaiting its official UK banking licence. However, it has already secured 1,500 users on a test basis and has a further 30,000 people waiting to open an account when regulatory approval is completed.
In addition to a keen customer base, the mobile-first challenger bank is ready to hit the ground running and has secured a £5m investment from Passion Capital – which builds on £2m received in 2015 – to support an accelerated service launch.
Eileen Burbidge, partner at Passion Capital, said: “Mondo is Passion Capital’s single largest investment and we’re delighted to be supporting Tom and the team as they tackle a market that’s an order of magnitude larger than that of most other companies.
“Consumer expectations have shifted; they expect to be able to do everything from their mobile in a matter of seconds. We’re very excited that Mondo will bring that experience to banking.”
In July, George Osborne appointed Burbidge as the government’s special envoy of fintech, a role that will require the venture capitalist to “champion” the sector across Britain and also overseas.
Mondo claims it turned down other investment offers from “notable international investors”. The decision was made to instead seek a £1m investment from its customers and casual investors via a Crowdcube campaign that will go live on 1 March – although pre-registration will grant access on 29 February.
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Tom Blomfield, CEO of Mondo, said: “We’ve been called a bank for people who hate banks. We’re using the power of the smartphone to put our customers back in control of their finances. You can see exactly what you’re spending in seconds, from anywhere in the world. Sending money to friends or splitting bills is as easy as a single tap.”
Blomfield said that future rounds will also include crowdfunding elements. Those that participate in the soon-to-launch Crowdcube campaign will skip the waiting list of 30,000 people to receive a “Mondo Investor” Mastercard prepaid debit card and access to the Mondo iPhone app, in addition to company shares.
He added that the decision was made early on that openness and transparency was the key to make the bank truly able to fix customer problems.
“Our early users have helped us shape the bank as it’s grown and we’re enormously grateful for their help. Now we want to give them a chance to own part of the bank that they’ve helped to build,” Blomfield explained.
Crowdcube’s co-founder Luke Lang commended Mondo for developing “a bank that everyone can love” with “smart use of technology and power of people”.
Dragons’ Den star Levi Roots is another entrepreneur looking to make smart use of technology – he’s opened a restaurant called Caribbean Smokehouse, which comes laced with tech to deliver “the most amazing, ‘lowdahmercy’ experience from start to finish”.
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