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Has Monzo put Cardiff on the map for fintech firms?

Earlier this year, the digital bank Monzo created hundreds of new jobs in Cardiff when it launched a new customer service operation in the city. This came about after the leader of the Cardiff council, Huw Thomas, and its chief executive, Paul Orders, met with Monzo over a year ago.

This major move not only shows that Cardiff is a prime spot for businesses to come and expand, it also highlights the efforts being made by authorities in helping the area to develop and thrive. Cardiff is certainly on the map now, and other fintech firms may look to expand in the growing region.

Monzo is One of the Fastest Growing Digital Banks

Monzo was founded as Mondo in 2015 by Tom Blomfield, Jonas Huckestein, Jason Bates, Paul Rippon, and Gary Dolman. It was one of the first challenger banks to appear in the UK and came about as an alternative to traditional, long-established giants like Lloyds and Barclays. While still operating under its original name in February 2016, Mondo raised a record-breaking £1 million in 96 seconds, which is still considered the fastest crowd-funding campaign in history. This was done through the Crowdcube investment platform, which was established by Darren Westlake and Luke Lang in 2011 and enables anyone to invest in a company for a share of the equity.

In just over one year, Monzo was thriving. The company announced that around 200,000 customers had spent more than £250 million between them on the prepaid card. A few months after this, in July 2017, Monzo also made public their plans for current accounts that would work in the same way as traditional bank accounts. In a short space of time, Monzo has expanded massively and continues to be one of the fastest growing fintech businesses on the planet. In 2018, Monzo teamed up with TransferWise to enable international bank transfers from the mobile app. The company also hosted another crowdfunding campaign in the same year and mustered £20 million in three hours from investors. This latest customer service branch in Cardiff is just another step towards Monzo’s domination.

Online Businesses Allow for Continuous Growth and Opportunities

Monzo is just one business in a long list of companies that have flourished online. Without physical restrictions, there’s the possibility for exponential growth, which Monzo has shown by expanding year-on-year during its short lifespan. However, there are numerous other great examples of this from a diverse range of industries. These come from countries all over the world, with Wales now joining the list.

Beardbrand from Austin, Texas, for instance, has been immensely successful due to the rising beard trend that has coincided with online advancements. The company founded by Eric Bandholz began in 2012 and grew in stature thanks to continuous blogging, videos, and numerous Tumblr posts to help get to as many people as possible. Another such example is the online casino industry, which has proved that the lack of a need for actual physical space has helped some businesses grow exponentially, with sites being able to feature hundreds of online slot games without having to worry about floor space to physically place them. Sites like Betway casino online have also utilised modern technology such as live streaming to help attract more players, as well as offering more ways to play online, with themed slots and multiplayer options growing in popularity. Where social media is concerned, US-based My Custom Candy made great use of integrated social channels in order to grow and found that the number of people that could be reached was limitless. Through the company’s Instagram account, the business, which allows customers to create their own candy, gained the attention of Forbes, Bloomberg, NBC, and Fox News.

There are countless examples of this potential for fast and almost infinite growth online. Fringe Sport is another such business that has benefited massively from the internet. The fitness company, also from Austin, Texas, uses the internet to have a close relationship with clients and gain a reputation for being heavily focused on customer service. Sapling Child is originally an Australian company which began in 2011 and moved to the US to continue growing. It specialises in organic baby clothing and has made a name for itself as a great alternative for babies with sensitive skin. It has done this by working closely with other online baby sites.

Will Other Firms Now Look at Cardiff and Wales as a Prime Place to do Business?

The fact that the government in Cardiff had a hand in getting Monzo to set up a branch of the business in the city shows that there are proactive measures being taken to boost the economy. It would be fair to assume that the council leaders are in talks with other businesses in order to reach similar deals. In addition to this, companies will now look to Monzo’s success in the Welsh capital and see that there is potential for growth here.

Cities across the globe with multiple fintech firms have usually developed a reputation for being perfect spots for tech businesses over time. As soon as a few companies crop up in an area, others follow. This is why Cardiff could easily become the new hotspot for the fintech industry. There are also organisations like FinTech Wales that are aiming to make Wales a global leader in the financial technology sector.

Monzo’s venture into Cardiff has been good for the city already, and there are likely to be more jobs created as the company continues to expand. The Welsh capital could now be seen as a prime spot for other fintech firms to set up shop in.

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