Ivanka Trump’s Brother-in-Law Invests in U.K. Startup LenderBy
Joshua Kushner’s Thrive Capital is backing U.K.’s Monzo Bank
Smartphone lender is raising 22 million pounds from investors
Thrive Capital, a U.S. venture firm started by Joshua Kushner, the brother of U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, is investing 13 million pounds ($16.2 million) in a British startup smartphone bank.
Monzo Bank Ltd. raised 19.5 million pounds from a group of investors led by Thrive Capital, subject to regulatory approval, and pledged to start a 2.5 million-pound crowdfunding round, the London-based company said in a statement on Thursday. Kushner is the brother of Jared Kushner, who is a senior adviser to the president and married to his daughter Ivanka Trump. Jared is divesting from Thrive, Bloomberg News reported last month.
Monzo is among a growing number of financial technology companies -- neobanks as they’re known in the industry -- winning licenses from the Bank of England to offer branchless, mobile-phone-based banking to take on the nation’s largest lenders. They’re winning support from U.S. venture capitalists, hedge funds and wealthy business leaders such as EBay Inc. founder Pierre Omidyar, who’s backing Monzo rival Tandem Bank.
“Banks are not meeting the needs of the modern consumer,” Miles Grimshaw, principal at Thrive Capital, said in the statement. “Building a modern banking experience from front to back is an incredible challenge, and we haven’t met a better team to take it on.”
Passion Capital, a firm co-founded by U.K. government financial technology adviser Eileen Burbidge, is injecting a further 5 million pounds to its existing 12 million-pound investment in Monzo. Orange Digital Ventures, the strategic corporate venture fund of French telecommunications firm Orange SA, is making a 1.5 million-pound investment.
Thrive Capital had raised $1.5 billion from investors through July to place into investments such as messaging app Slack, online-payments company Stripe, and Oscar, which sells insurance under the U.S.’s Affordable Care Act.