British digital bank Monzo, expanding fast, wants to hire up to 500 people and (hopefully) reach 5.5 million users this year. The bank is also preparing to try charging customers again to turn a profit.
Monzo, a loss-making firm launched in 2015, has burned through cash in its attempt to grow and eventually launch in the U.S. Yet, it’s had no problem raising capital — it’s valued at more than £2 billion ($2.6 billion).
To date, Monzo has amassed 3.8 million customers in its British home base, boasting a bright coral card and spend-tracking data. Younger customers have become particularly enamored, and a YouGov survey from last November had Monzo as the most likely brand in Britain to recommend to a friend.
Founder Tom Blomfield, only 34 years old, told Reuters that he expected the bank to rise from 1,500 to 2,000 employees this year as it seeks to hire more — albeit issues in the past stemming from user complaints, saying they’d been locked out of their accounts for no reason they could see. There was also the attempted rollout of a premium paid-for account last September, abruptly canceled after just a few months.
Blomfield said Monzo is planning to try again with the accounts, though, implementing lessons learned from last time. The launch is planned for the first quarter this year. Blomfield noted that the mistakes had come from the quick growth of the bank, adding that some things seemed simple and universal with just 50 customers, but that ended up not being the case with millions of them.
Monzo’s plan, according to Blomfield, was to float within three or four years, and for the bank to be popular by then. However, a loss of £47.2 million in 2018 has the bank talking with investors about the best ways to move forward.
Blomfield said the bank’s focus is on monetization, and that it is looking to drive a profit with methods that are transparent and fair. To do so, Monzo wants to look at lending more, and rolling out paid-for services like the aforementioned premium account.