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Early Monzo employee Simon Balmain leaves for Nick D’Aloisio’s new startup

“The people that you need in Year 1 and 2 aren’t necessarily the people you need in Year 4 and 5.”

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One of Monzo’s earliest and best-known employees

announced his departure from the digital bank on Friday.

Balmain joined Monzo in 2016 as part of its customer operations team, and soon became a key part of developing the digital bank’s thriving online forum in his role as community specialist becoming a key face at many of the bank’s meetups.

On Friday Balmain announced on Monzo’s community forum that he has joined Sphere, a new group messaging app and brainchild of Nick D’Aloisio.

D’Aloisio, you may remember, is the famous young entrepreneur who sold his news app Summly to Yahoo for $30m in 2013 when he was just 17 years old.

“I’m headed there to figure out what a world-class Community strategy looks like in this new decade of the 2020’s,” wrote Balmain, adding that Sphere is still in stealth.

On his reasons for leaving Monzo, he wrote: “I joined Monzo all the way back in October 2016, right after the Mondo name change. We had around 50 staff, 50k customers… today we have over 1500 staff, 4 million customers, an absolutely gigantic new office in London is on the cards... and I’m the 31st longest serving staff member.”

Balmain also pointed to the bank’s developing culture, which means: “the people that you need in Year 1 and 2 aren’t necessarily the people you need in Year 4 and 5.”

“I think with the reality of where the company is now and where it’s going, realistically I’ve given all I can.”

While not part of the senior management team, Balmain joins a collection of long-standing employees to leave Monzo in the last six months, including former CTO Meri Williams, former COO Tom Foster-Carter and deputy CEO Paul Rippon.

Meanwhile, the bank has been hiring a swathe of new senior executives, including chief risk officer Lisa Nowelland head of diversity and inclusion Sheree Atcheson.

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