They represent two of the biggest upstarts in banking, both seeking to revolutionise a hidebound industry. But now an explosive tell-all memoir reveals the rivalry between Starling Bank boss Anne Boden and Monzo co-founder Tom Blomfield is personal as well as professional.
The pair suffered a brutal falling-out which triggered a huge power struggle when they were partners at Starling.
Ms Boden claims that Mr Blomfield sought to seize control of the firm and poach its staff. When the coup fell through he went on to set up Monzo – one of Starling’s biggest rivals.
Starling and Monzo are two of Britain's leading fintech firms , which are trying to win customers from traditional banks by offering a digital only service through mobile apps.
The companies have amassed about 6m customers between them, most of them young, but have yet to become profitable.
In her new book, Ms Boden paints Mr Blomfield – a bearded hipster 25 years her junior – as naive and immature, alleging that he once sulked because he had to wear a suit jacket to a meeting with senior bankers rather than his preferred jeans and t-shirt.
She claims that before one "toe-curling" meeting with an old school banker in New York, "Tom's nose was firmly out of joint before we even arrived, mainly because he'd had to buy a jacket to wear to the meeting".
Ms Boden, who was a senior executive at Allied Irish Bank before she founded Starling in 2014, claims that in February 2015 Mr Blomfield stunned colleagues by announcing he was leaving the startup, which was fighting for survival.
Recalling the episode, she said: "He gave few reasons other than that he could not work with my 'reckless' behaviour."
Ms Boden claims she was told that her protégé "made it clear that he was not able to work with me" and that she received an offer to hand the company over to him.
She claims she refused a "ludicrous" request that she take responsibility for the company's debts.
The banker makes the claims in a new book, Banking On It: How I Disrupted an Industry, which is due to be released on Nov 5.
The allegations were contained in an excerpt published in The Sunday Times .
The memoir recounts a trip she and Mr Blomfield made to the US in 2014 to raise money from prospective investors so that they could fulfil their ambition to grow the bank. Ms Boden stayed in hotels while Mr Blomfield opted for Airbnbs.
They ended their fundraising trip empty handed. Ms Boden said that Mr Blomfield apologised if he had been behaving oddly and explained that his girlfriend had been staying with him at the Airbnbs.
"Apparently the two of them had been working out if they had a future together," Ms Boden said.
Mr Blomfield did not respond to a request for comment. He has since learned what it is to lose a key lieutenant after his Monzo co-founder Paul Rippon quit the firm in January to run an alpaca farm .
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