Ukraine’s Monobank to launch Koto app in UK
The brains behind Ukraine’s Monobank are preparing to launch their Koto app and card in the UK next year.
On the Koto website it is offering lending services, a card, the option to send money for free, and use the card abroad with no FX fees. It is offering early access via email sign up.
Koto is the creation of Monobank’s co-founders Dima Dubilet, Misha Rogalskiy and Oleg Gorokhovskyi. All three of them worked at PrivatBank and used their experiences to launch Monobank in July last year.
The latter is Ukraine’s “first” virtual bank, allowing customers to conduct transactions from their smartphones. It provides services such as paying utilities and recharging phone balances.
Monobank, which works with Universal Bank, states that it signed up 100,000 new users in its first three months of operation.
Monobank should not be confused with the Norwegian challenger of the same name. (That was founded in 2015 and is based in Bergen. It offers loans, payment insurance products, and savings accounts.)
FinTech Futures contacted Ukraine’s Monobank for more details about Koto. In an incredible turn of events the bank responded on the same day (28 November). Wow.
In terms of the choice of the UK market, the founders believe people are “familiar with the concept of mobile-only banking thanks to first movers like Monzo and Revolut etc”.
But in their view, “most neo-banks are focusing on current accounts or payments, and we think that there is still a gap in the market for a challenger focused on credit products”.
They plan to get approval (and licence) for their firm from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority in Q1 2019.
They are self-funded but are planning to raise round A of investments in the middle of the next year.
In terms of the future, they plan to get 50,000 customers in the first six months. Prior to raising additional funds.
The Koto development team consists of more than 150 people, who are located in Ukraine. In the UK it has a “relatively small office for now, but that will change when we get closer to the launch date”.
Finally, if you look at the website, there is the Koto cat, its “mascot”.
The founders explain: “He is fun and smart and you’ll see him often once you start using our app. We strongly believe that banking shouldn’t be boring and just about numbers. Our cat will make you smile every time you make a payment or just open the app to check a balance.”