New banks

Starling closes investment round, prepares for international expansion

  • UK-based Starling Bank just raised some cash to expand internationally.
  • The challenger bank wants to take its retail, business, and B2B banking services abroad.
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Starling closes investment round, prepares for international expansion

Starling Bank has raised £75 million in a round aimed at funding a European expansion.

The skinny: Last week, Starling unveiled a Euro bank account as the UK-based challenger bank prepares for Brexit. Since launching in 2017, Starling claims a customer base of 460,000 personal accounts and 30,000 business accounts. The bank said it expects to hit one million customers by the end of 2019.

Starling wants to compete in B2B, too: As part of the funding announcement, Starling also revealed it had signed on three new clients to its banking as a service. According to the company, it now has 20 institutional clients on its platform, and payment volume in its Payment Services is doubling month on month.

Starling’s banking as a service product is a bit of a departure from most other challenger banks. Starling provides payment and banking infrastructure to fintech apps, so they can offer current accounts and debit cards to their own customers. Similar to what Amazon did with AWS, Starling is betting on the expanded demand for banking services across industries.

Starling intends to go international: European challenger banks are on the move, growing into new European markets and expanding across the pond into the U.S. Starling’s moves in preparation for the day after Brexit signal that the challenger bank intends to embark on a similar growth plan, even if it isn’t as aggressive as Revolut, Monzo, and N26.

“Building our platform and launching in the UK to provide genuine choice to retail, SME and Banking-as-a-Service customers was just the first step,” said Anne Boden, founder and chief executive of Starling Bank.

“Our ambition is to use our technology to build a next-generation global, digital banking platform, starting with our launch across Europe this year.”

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