Starling Bank CEO expects IPO to take place by 2023


Anne Boden, CEO of Starling Bank.

Starling Bank

LONDON – UK digital bank Starling plans to go public in two years, CEO and founder Anne Boden said on Tuesday.

An initial public offering is “in a year or two,” Boden told reporters. “It’s at least a year away. But we’re talking about a year or two.”

Starling, which counts among its investors Goldman Sachs, Fidelity Investments and the Qatar sovereign wealth fund, is one of the main challenger banks in the United Kingdom.

Along with other competing startups like Monzo and Revolut, Starling has attracted millions of users through a single app and a linked payment card – no physical branches.

Boden said Starling’s IPO will likely take place in London, where the company’s headquarters are located.

“I really hope we can do it in London,” she said. “I think that would be the default option, unless we are convinced otherwise.”

A stock market debut for Starling would add to a string of top-tier floats in the UK’s nascent tech sector.

Financial technology firm Wise was listed directly on the London Stock Exchange at a valuation of $ 11 billion earlier this year. Food delivery giant Deliveroo was less successful with its IPO, with shares falling as much as 30% on the first day of trading.

Although Britain has produced successful tech companies like Google-owned artificial intelligence firm DeepMind and Arm, with the chip designer being sold by SoftBank to Nvidia, it has yet to set up listed tech companies in scholarship on a scale corresponding to those of the United States or China. .

Founded in 2014, Starling started life by offering free checking accounts through an app. She has since moved into business lending and banking, both of which have helped the company break even recently.

Starling’s early days were marred by a bitter argument between Boden and co-founder Tom Blomfield, who left to start rival online banking Monzo. The spat was the subject of a book published by Boden last year, titled “Banking On It”.

“It occurred to me that until now I had always marked our progress against Monzo, as they were our rival banker rival and had started almost at the same time,” Boden said in a new print version of his book, due for release Thursday.

“The extraordinary experiences of 2020 have shown more clearly than ever that our competitors are now Lloyds, Barclays et al.”

However, the challengers are still a long way from stealing significant market share from much larger incumbents. Starling, which was last valued at $ 1.5bn, earned £ 97.6m ($ 133.2m) in 2019, a figure which is paltry compared to traditional lenders like HSBC, Barclays and NatWest.

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