“Why do companies even exist? What are we here for?” Tom Blomfield, the chief executive of challenger bank Monzo, has decided to ask a rather existential question.
“We have to be profitable and sustainable. But you also need to think about our impact on society and environment. If we don’t do that, we make a bunch of profit and screw everything else up.”
Blomfield has a reason for this soul searching. His company disrupted the traditional banking sector in the UK, and now needs to refine and replicate its formula in a completely different market: the US.
Monzo’s meteoric rise from Shoreditch status symbol to £2 billion startup juggernaut was fuelled in large part by an almost cult-like customer following. Its growth to over 3.5 million users in the UK has led traditional banks to scramble to revamp their consumer banking services around user experiences that appeal to customers under 35.
Its success is also thanks to its team involving customers in growing the business from the start – something unheard of in banking. Monzo’s team raised capital through crowdfunding, asked customers to trial their beta products, and even re-named the business based on 10,000 suggestions from its own users (it had to change its original name from Mondo after a trademark dispute).