Broadband provider Truespeed and challenger bank Monzo have picked up tech funding from some big names.
Bath-based Truespeed has secured an additional £100 million of funding from Aviva Investors for its full fibre broadband delivery plans.
Chinese company Tencent has grabbed a small stake in Monzo as part of a fundraising. The fintech firm did not reveal the precise details in its announcement, but according to Sky News Tencent was investing a minority of a $100 million (£74 million) capital injection, citing a source close to the process.
Godspeed to Truespeed
Truespeed says this latest funding is its second tranche from Aviva Investors, the asset management business of Aviva. Truespeed has increased its investment from Aviva Investors to £175 million.
“This second tranche of funding reflects our belief that the company and its activities not only represent a sound investment, but also creates significant social benefits for local communities across the country,” explains Sean McLachlan, Senior Director, Infrastructure, at Aviva Investors.
The additional £100 million investment will help Truespeed with the rollout of its network to homes and businesses across urban, semi-rural and ultra-rural areas of South West England.
According to Truespeed, in the past year it has doubled the size of its network and extended its build to the heritage cities of Bath and Wells. In December 2021 the firm announced the start of its network build in Glastonbury, Shepton Mallet and Street.
Local businesses including Yeo Valley and Thatchers Cider now use Truespeed for full fibre services. Truespeed points out that it also provides “free broadband for life to local schools and community hubs passed by its network”.
More for Monzo
The good news for London-based Monzo comes a few weeks after it enjoyed a $500 million (£379 million) funding round. That gave it a valuation of $4.5 billion (£3.4 billion). Although it is a long way off from fellow challenger Revolut, which stands at $33 billion (£25 billion).
Founded in 2015, Monzo has about five million customers, with 100,000 new customers joining each month.
These funding boosts are all a welcome change in fortune as it was valued at £1.25 billion in February 2021.
The digital bank had announced it was being investigated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority over potential breaches of financial crime regulations.
The bank’s accountants had also indicated there was “material uncertainty” over its future and a “significant doubt” on Monzo’s ability to continue. That seems to have changed.
Looking ahead, the challenger could be exploring new products such as a platform for retail investors to invest in stocks, people familiar with the matter told the Financial Times. This will include cryptocurrency trading, although this is only at an exploratory stage.
Tencent has various stakes in tech and fintech companies around the world – such as Tesla and challenger banks N26 and Nubank.