Trezeo purchase signals Monese targeting of Republic

Fintech services offer financial stability to those who don’t receive regular pay cheques

Revolut-rival Monese has made its first acquisition, snapping up Irish fintech Trezeo in a move that will see it double down on the Republic as a key market.

The deal will also allow the pan-European mobile money account provider to expand its product offering by providing more credit and lending services to so-called “gig workers” and other self-employed people.

Founded by fintech veterans Garrett Cassidy and Flavien Charlon in 2016, Trezeo provides a range of subscription-based products and services that are designed to provide financial stability for those who don’t receive regular pay cheques. The company is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in Britain, where the majority of its customers are based.

The acquisition forms part of a major push by Monese to expand its product suite, by offering credit and lending to consumers with untraditional working and income patterns.


International transfers

Monese, which recently closed a €90 million funding round led by Investec, was launched in Britain in September 2015 to provide financial services to those without perfect credit scores or proof of address. Founder Norris Koppel got the idea for the business after experiencing first-hand just how difficult it was to open up a bank account after moving to London from Estonia.

Monese provides a mobile-only current account that also allows for international money transfer, direct debits and so on. The digital challenger has more than two million customers across over 30 countries.

No financial details have been disclosed for the acquisition. According to PitchBook, the Irish start-up was valued at about €5 million as of last year. As part of the deal, Mr Cassidy is to lead Monese’s credit strategy and join the company’s leadership team, while Mr Charlon will be its new head of credit technology.

‘Aggressive roadmap’

Speaking to The Irish Times, Mr Cassidy, Trezeo’s chief executive, said Monese is to accelerate the expansion of its mobile money app in Ireland with “an aggressive roadmap of launches that will deliver more choice to consumers impacted by the forthcoming Ulster Bank and KBC account closures”. This includes launching Paysafecash top-ups at 3,100 locations locally in the coming months. Monese also plans to expand its bills and purchase protection to the Republic next year.

He said the companies started partnership talks two years ago with no plans at that time to merge. However, as talks continued they figured more progress could be made by combining.

“Many of Monese’s customers are ‘credit invisible’. It isn’t that they have a bad credit history but that they have challenges identifying themselves and accessing finance,” he said. “We see a huge opportunity from targeting these individuals.”

Mr Koppel said the two companies were focused on the same audience, that is workers who are “underserved both by traditional banks but also digital players such as Starling and Revolut”.

“I think this partnership will enable us to become a big household name in Ireland and to go beyond what we currently offer,” he said.

“The big dream of mine is to make Monese truly global and this deal is the first step towards that,” Mr Koppel added.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist