Monzo plans to recruit 500 staff in 2020, as founder Blomfield says N26 “didn’t connect” in UK

via AltFi

Monzo plans to recruit around 500 staff during this year, according to Chief Executive Tom Blomfield, who said N26’s attempt to conquer the UK market failed because the German digital bank “didn’t connect”.

In an interview with Reuters, Blomfield said he expected Monzo to exceed a headcount of 2,000 this year, which is up from 1,500 staff it currently has.

Monzo didn’t give further details about what areas it would be recruiting in.

Monzo is trying to replicate its success in the UK by launching in the US and Blomfield said it would learn from a mistake made by N26- which last week announced it was exiting the UK market- in trying to crack the US.

“In the US we are laying the groundwork, but not looking for explosive growth,” Blomfield told Reuters.

“The lesson there is if you take a product and just move it across unchanged it doesn’t do well- N26 didn’t connect.”

AltFi reported last week that Monzo- along with Starling and Monese- saw an uplift in transfers and customers from the German challenger bank, following the announcement of its exit.

The German digital bank blamed Brexit for its decision to pull out of the UK and close more than 200,000 customer accounts.

The 34-year-old founder of Monzo also estimated Monzo user numbers- it currently has 3.8m customers in Britain-would hit 5.5million this year and confirmed that it planned to relaunch its paid-for-account in the first quarter of this year.

The relaunch follows Monzo’s problems with its premium paid-for account service which was axed in September last year, after Monzo admitted the service “isn’t the best it could be”.

“We learned that things that seem a universal truth when you are 50 people, launching iteratively as no one is paying attention, when you do that with 3.5 million customers it’s foolish,” Blomfield said.

Blomfield said the bank was planning to float within the next three to four years and that he expected Monzo to be profitable by then.

Losses at digital bank Monzo widened to £47.2m last year, compared to £30.5m the year previous.

The digital bank is in talks with investors to raise between £50 to £100 million pounds.