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Tom Blomfield says Monzo may shun VCs in favour of a major crowdfunding round

Monzo CEO Tom Blomfield has said the challenger bank may choose to crowdfund its next investment round rather than seek funding from venture capitalists.

The startup’s next round of funding is “approaching” and will be bigger than its last £22m but under £100m, according to a profile in the Evening Standard.

Blomfield told the paper that he was considering two options: “The vanilla approach would be a West Coast VC. The less vanilla option… We’re considering a big crowdfunding round.”

Monzo crowdfunded £1m in 96 seconds in March 2016. Twelve months later, the firm raised a further £22m, with £19.5m from Thrive Capital, Passion Capital and Orange Digital Venture.

The remaining £2.5m was crowdfunded from 6,500 investors, according to Crowdcube. However, if all 41,000 people who pledged cash were able to invest, Monzo would have raised £12m.

Blomfield told an audience of users at Monzo’s HQ last month that he had turned down two takeover offers in the previous month because selling out to a bank “is not why we’re here”.

“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 is considered to be the UK’s leading challenger bank having signed up more than 300,000 users since it launched in 2015. It currently offers customers a pre-paid debit card, but is in the process of rolling out current accounts to all users by the end of the year.

But Blomfield said he doesn’t see the company as a bank: “We don’t necessarily want to build a bank. 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.”

“What we’re trying to do is not just a current account,” he added. “It’s to build an extremely powerful financial control centre that uses all of the data there to either make your life simpler, save you money or earn money on the surplus funds you have.”