Starling Bank raises £75m to fund international expansion

Digital bank led by former AIB executive Anne Boden looking to establish Irish unit

Starling Bank chief executive Anne Boden

Starling Bank chief executive Anne Boden

 

Starling Bank, a UK-headquartered digital bank which is planning to establish an Irish subsidiary, has raised £75 million (€85.4 million) to fund its international expansion.

The bank, which is led by its founder, former AIB chief operating officer Anne Boden, is believed to be in the process of applying for a European banking licence that would allow it to operate in multiple jurisdictions.

Starling already has a single euro payments area licence which allows it to carry out direct debit and card payments and transfers across the EU

The bank said on Wednesday it had raised £60 million in a Series C funding round led by Edinburgh-based Merian Global Investors, including the Merian Chrysalis Investment Company. The bank said it had also secured a further £15 million from primary backer Harald McPike, the founder of Bahamas-based quantitative investment manager QuantRes.

The funding will be used to support increased investment in Starling’s products and to enable the digital banking platform to accelerate its global expansion, starting in Europe.

Genuine choice

“Building our platform and launching in the UK to provide genuine choice to retail, SME and Banking-as-a-Service customers was just the first step. Our ambition is to use our technology to build a next-generation global, digital banking platform, starting with our launch across Europe this year,” said Ms Boden.

Since launching in May 2017, Starling has built up a customer base of 460,000 personal current accounts and 30,000 SME accounts. The bank says it expects to hit one million customers by the end of this year.

A banking veteran, Ms Boden was a senior member of AIB’s management team between 2012 and 2013, before leaving to set up Starling in 2014.

She wrote in a blogpost last month that the bank intends to set up an Irish subsidiary which would be used as a hub to target the French and German markets.

Merian Chrysalis is an LSE-listed investment company advised by asset management firm Merian Global Investors, which was formerly named Old Mutual Global Investors. Merian Global Investors has a total of £28.9 billion under management.