The Daily Telegraph

Revolut clutching at straws with travel app, says Boden

- By Lucy Burton and Matthew Field

STARLING founder Anne Boden has argued that Revolut’s foray into the travel industry is “clutching at straws” as she said her bank was “pulling away” from its rivals.

Banking veteran Ms Boden, who founded online bank Starling in 2014 after 30 years working for “boring big banks”, dismissed Revolut’s new travel feature, which launched this week, arguing that banks are “not the best people to book your holiday”.

She added that her business was “pulling away from the rest of the fintech pack” such as Revolut and Monzo.

Her comments come as the Goldman Sachs-backed business slimmed down its losses to £23m as it considers an initial public offering as soon as next year.

The challenger bank said yesterday its revenues had improved around 600pc, up to £97.6m, from £14m in the previous reporting period. Starling said it had broken even since October last year, although due to an accounting change its reports covered the 16 months to March 2021. It did say, however, that impairment charges increased from £4.3m to £16m. Starling has been one of the most active challenger banks in the CBILS scheme, and it said its loan book was £2.2bn. The total number of accounts grew to 2.3m.

Meanwhile Index Ventures, an early backer of Deliveroo and Revolut, has raised $3.1bn (£2.2bn) for its latest investment funds as it hunts for the next crop of “unicorn” companies.

Martin Mignot, a partner at Index Ventures who previously sat on the board of Revolut, also defended Revolut’s £24bn valuation. The payments and money transfer app last week announced it had raised $800m with backing from Japan’s Softbank.

“If you look at last year’s revenues and apply a multiple, yes it [the valuation] is going to be high,” he said. “But people are not investing in last year’s revenues. It is a misleading way to look at things. They are investing in future profits and opportunit­y.”

He said Revolut’s valuation was justified due to its plans to be a “superapp”, combining finance, foreign exchange and services such as travel bookings.

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