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Oscar Williams

News editor

Monzo quietly made another star hire earlier this year

Challenger bank Monzo quietly added Facebook’s Phil Hewinson to its roster of star hires earlier this year, NS Tech can disclose.

The former Facebook partnerships manager joined the fintech startup as head of partnerships at the end of May.

Hewinson now leads Monzo’s efforts to build features in collaboration with other firms as it seeks to become a financial control centre.

Since joining the company two months ago, he has met with more than 40 potential partners.

“One of the biggest carrots for partners will be new user acquisition,” he said. “We’re looking for companies that have the same sort of values as us that can provide value to users. We’re really keen on targeting users in a highly relevant way.”

The ambition is to surface offers at the right time and to make the purchase process as seamless as possible.

“You can imagine an experience where you turn up at the airport and then you look in Monzo and there’s something asking you if you have travel insurance: ‘If not, click here’,” said Hewinson.

Another option is linking up with utility providers. One of the first partnership tests set to be rolled out in the coming weeks is with Bulb, a renewable energy startup, Hewinson revealed.

“We’ll probably start by testing it with 200 people,” he said. “Then based on the results and the value people are getting, we may scale it to a couple of thousand, then see where it goes.”

Last night, Blomfield, Monzo’s CEO, told an audience of customers that he doesn’t envisage Monzo as a bank.

“We don’t necessarily want to build a bank,” he said. “A bank is an enabler of the stuff we really do want to build, which is a single tool that lets you visualise and control all your money wherever it sits.

“That might mean aggregating all of your different current accounts into one place. It might be visualising your student loan and the repayments.”

He also revealed that the firm had turned two acquisition offers in the past month.

“We’re here because we believe we can build something that genuinely improves the lives of millions of people around the world, and ultimately a billion,” he said. “If we sell out to a big bank we will not achieve that goal.”

The firm has hired a string of respected developers over the last few months, as well as Dean Nash, Barclay’s former divisional legal head, who’s in charge of compliance for the startup.