Anne Boden/Starling Bank.
Anne Boden speaks for the first time about the coup which created Monzo
Five years later, the first details of Tom Blomfield’s departure from Starling Bank are coming to light.
However, in the five years since, few details have ever emerged about what really happened, despite all those involved being asked countless times.
In an extract from her book, serialised in The Sunday Times, Boden describes how Blomfield, then her chief technology officer at Bank Possible (later renamed to Starling), launched a coup in February 2015.
According to Boden, in the midst of an already challenging funding round Blomfield announced his departure, further throwing the fintech’s funding plans into disarray, before launching his own funding effort, this time with an aim of taking control of the business “to engineer what was nothing less than a coup”, writes Boden.
“Tom [Blomfield], Gary [Dolman, who would later become Monzo’s CFO] and Jason Bates [who would later co-found 11:FS] met with Eileen [Burbidge] and Stefan Glaenzer at Passion Capital and agreed a deal. Tom made it clear that he was not able to work with me. It was all such a shock. Somehow Tom had taken my place—Passion Capital was in and I was out.”
Ultimately Blomfield’s manoeuvre with Passion Capital was unsuccessful, in part because, according to Boden, the duo pushed for her to take responsibility for all of Starling’s debts, which at the time included more than £1m owed to KPMG and PwC.
“This was Starling’s near-death experience. At the time, I had no way of knowing if it was one stage further than that. Whichever way I looked at it, I was effectively back at square one,” writes Boden.
Next week another extract of Boden’s book will be published covering a “secretive billionaire and the £48m deal that sent Starling into flight”, likely covering the involvement of Austrian investor Harald McPike who became Starling’s biggest shareholder.
Boden’s book—her second after financial management guide The Money Revolution in 2019—Banking On It: How I Disrupted an Industry will be published on 5 November by Penguin Business.