8. Monese

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Founder: Norris Koppel
Founded: October 2013 (launched September 2015)
Website: monese.com

When Norris Koppel moved from the UK to Estonia without proof of address or UK credit history, his local bank wouldn’t let him open a bank account.

Struggling to secure a place to live and a salary as a result, Koppel’s transition into UK life was anything but smooth.

Keen to help people who’d be, or been, dismissed by the legal policies and bureaucracy of traditional banks, Koppel started Monese – a challenger banking app which enables anyone to set up an account easily, no matter who you are, where you live, or what your credit history looks like.

Promising to be the world’s most inclusive banking service, Monese is providing the answer to a problem that, for many people, is much-needed. In under three years, the start-up has attracted 350,000 customers in 20 countries, with 1,000 new people signing up every day.

Investors have recognised the start-up’s value too, and it has raised an impressive total of $16m investment which includes a $10m Series A round in January 2017.

This funding has helped fuel the business’ international growth and it now operates a team of 100 across both London and Estonia, and harbours plans to expand into more markets.

With a tiered pricing structure that enables customers to either use the service for free and pay for selected transactions or pay a monthly fee that covers all of their banking needs, Monese aims to offer “such an amazing experience that users will have no reasons to use a traditional bank again”.

Beyond its current success, Koppel’s ultimate vision for Monese remains the same as it was on day one of starting up:

“I want to help people on their journeys from exclusion to inclusion anywhere in the world, and to lower the cost of banking to free or near free.”

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