Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom has backed the U.K. challenger bank Monzo

Fundings and Exits

Monzo, one of a number of “challenger” banks in the U.K. aiming to re-invent the current account, is assembling quite an array of backers, many with a U.S. bent.

Its most recent round, which gave the startup a £280 million post-money valuation, saw the likes of Goodwater Capital, Stripe, and Michael Moritz invest, and before that Thrive Capital became a backer. Now TechCrunch has learned that we can add Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom to the list of U.S. investors.

A recent regulatory filing lists Systrom as a Monzo shareholder via his ‘Kevin Systrom Revocable Trust’. Interestingly, the same filing confirms our earlier, albeit tentative, scoop that British singer-songwriter Tom Odell has also invested in the bank. I understand that both investments were part of Monzo’s Series C round in February.

“We’re very happy Kevin Systrom is supporting Monzo as an investor and we’re excited to have him on board,” said a Monzo spokesperson confirming that Systrom is a backer.

Meanwhile, that Monzo seems to be taking a significant portion of its capital from U.S. investors shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. The challenger bank’s CEO and co-founder Tom Blomfield has made no secret that he has mid-term ambitions to bring Monzo to the U.S., a market that he sees as at least if not more attractive than simply ‘passporting’ the bank to other European countries.

“America’s more attractive because there are 300-odd million people, and their banks are really, really bad, they speak the same language, and they broadly have the same service providers,” he told me on-stage at Startup Grind London last week.

In contrast, Blomfield says that Europe is more fragmented in language and consumer banking culture, and has many different providers in each country, something he reckon’s makes Monzo’s marketplace banking model a little more challenging.

Having been through Y Combinator with his previous startup GoCardless and after spending time working at a dating startup in the U.S., it is also clear the Monzo co-founder looks to U.S. consumer tech companies, such as Instagram and Facebook, for both product and marketing/growth inspiration, rather than the legacy banking industry. Having Systrom as an investor will no doubt help with that.

Featured Image: David M. Benett/Getty Images

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