The road to Starling
The idea for Starling was hatched in 2014 when Anne Boden envisioned a different kind of bank. A bank that respected and embraced the technological changes in the banking sector occurring at that time.
We’ve already come a long way. Our continued digital banking innovation drives Starling forward and bridges the gap between the customer, their finances and technology.
As we now tie our own history to the history of fintech and evolution of mobile banking, our journey is far from over.
New year, new awards.
Starting 2023 off right, we were named Britain’s Best Current Account in the Finder Customer Satisfaction Awards 2023! We also came sixth at the UK Customer Service Index among the UK’s top ten performing brands.
One month. Three launches.
Fixed Saver arrives! Our 12-month fixed term savings product offers a guaranteed return of 3.25%. Virtual cards also hit the app, allowing spending directly from a Space. And new addition Kitelink means friends and family can now pop money directly into a kid’s Kite Space.
Girls in football and Women in Finance
Our new Women in Finance Charter stats are out: we’ve met and surpassed our target, with 43% of senior leadership roles now held by women. We’ve also partnered with SportsAid, helping five young footballers with grants of £1,000 each.
Supporting Equal Play
We announced our sponsorship of Southampton FC Women for the 2022-23 season, and launched our #MakePocketMoneyEqual campaign, highlighting the gender play gap.
The Incredible Bulk (Payments)
We launched Bulk Payments for business accounts, greatly reducing the time our customers spend on admin. Our new Budget Planner also went live, helping to support people through the cost of living crisis.
Building a legacy
We pledged to continue our support for women’s football, following our sponsorship of UEFA Women’s EURO 2022. We’ve donated £28,000, split between grassroots clubs and grants for young footballers.
Our first full year of profitability
Customers asked for it, so we built it: Bills Manager launches for small businesses. And, marking a huge moment for Starling, we announce a pre-tax profit of £32.1m!
A month of milestones
Say hello to 36 new spending categories, which take Spending Insights to the next level. We also launched the first UK Fantasy Football game for the UEFA Women’s EURO and reached three million current accounts.
It’s Our Time
As part of our #WEURO2022 sponsorship, we launched the ‘Our Time’ campaign to celebrate women’s football. We also doubled the size of our Cardiff office, and number 10 announced Anne as the leader of its female entrepreneurship taskforce!
A Kite challenge & new investment
The family budget is up for grabs with our #StarlingKidsTakeover. Three family podcasters put their kids in charge – with eye-opening results. And, in another successful round of investment, we completed a £130.5 million fundraise from existing investors.
Ten champions & a new campaign
Our ten #TakeFlight2022 winners are announced! A jeweller, baker and fibreglass maker, among others. And we launched our ‘Fee-less’ travel campaign with out-of-home advertising going live across the UK.
Saving smaller & going greener
This month we’re one step closer to net zero by investing in eight environmental projects, including forest and peatland restoration. And we celebrated customer saving wins through our #SaveSmaller social media campaign.
Weightless business banking
To kick off 2022, our business ad hit TV and video on demand! Our ‘Set Your Business Free’ campaign features a dog groomer, a painter and an entrepreneur lifting off the ground, no longer weighed down by business banking.
From flight to finish line
We launched #TakeFlight2022, a competition designed to help small businesses soar with a panel of expert judges, offering the chance to win a £5000 grant! Ending with a bang, we finished 2021 with 2.7 million accounts, including 475,000 business accounts.
New features and net zero
Bills Manager arrives! This new feature means bill payments can now be taken from a Space instead of the main balance. We also announced our net zero targets: a one third reduction in carbon emissions from our own operations and supply chain by 2030, while offsetting our carbon emissions annually.
For people and planet
In line with the new £100 contactless cap, we gave customers the power to choose their own limit. Meanwhile, our new ad urging viewers to “set themselves free from old banking” went live across cinemas and TV screens. Finally, we announced our sponsorship of the Women’s EURO 2022 championships and Seat At the Table: an environment-focused YouTube series.
100s and 1000s
Our founder, Anne Boden, was named in the Financial Times’ Top 100 UK entrepreneurs. We also launched a series of ‘returnships’ - paid internships for women returning to work after a career break. And last but not least, we reached the milestone of 400,000 business accounts!
Leading the way
It was revealed that more people switched to Starling than any other bank in the first half of 2021. We also published research suggesting a new generation of leaders is emerging. A full two-thirds of women aged 15-21 expect to run their own businesses within the next 5-10 years.
Banking’s coming home
We won Best British Bank (for the fourth year running!) at the British Bank Awards. We scooped up Best Current Account, Best Business Banking Provider and Best App too. And the celebrations didn’t end there. We also announced a seven-fold increase in our annual revenue to £97.6 million, and completed our very first acquisition. The purchase of Fleet Mortgages, the buy-to-let experts, will help our upcoming push into the mortgage market.
Freedom to fly
It’s liftoff for Kite 2.0! We developed our bank card for kids, giving them access to their own version of the app. Offering support to businesses affected by Covid-19, we were also accredited by the British Business Bank as a lender under the government-backed Recovery Loan Scheme. As the economy rebounds, we’re delighted to lend a helping hand.
We continued to #MakeMoneyEqual, this time campaigning for more positive representation of women in financial imagery. We launched Mind the Tap, an outdoor campaign to welcome Londoners back to the tube and celebrate the return of normal life.
Businesses bouncing back
We secured another £50 million for our Series D funding round, bringing the total raised to £322m. In collaboration with Enterprise Nation we produced a report indicating that over 55% of businesses who borrowed through our Bounce Back Loan Scheme have progressed beyond mere survival, with many seeing tangible growth as a result of their loan.
A greener way to pay
We became the first bank in the UK to launch a Mastercard debit card made from recycled plastic. We also secured another £272 million, after our latest round of funding.
We came first in Money Saving Expert’s latest customer service poll, beating all the other banks with a score of 93%. To help address Black inclusion in the workplace, we signed the ‘If Not Now, When?’ open letter.
And the winner is…
We were featured in the latest Which? online banking security test and earned the top score. From online security to financial security, we added PensionBee to the Starling Marketplace for our sole traders. Now customers can manage their personal and business pension pots from within the Starling app.
Ending the year on a high
We surpassed 2 million opened accounts! Finder.com awarded us with the Business Banking Innovation award. Our customers also won big, too – with SumUp, Dinghy and iZettle all having joined the Marketplace.
Turning a profit
Starling broke even and turned profitable (the first UK digital consumer bank to do so!). In other exciting news, we were chosen as a Which? Recommended Provider for the second year running and voted the best bank for customer service. Our CEO Anne published her second book, which tells the story of Starling. We also put out a report looking into the financial impact of the pandemic on small business owners.
Planting the seed
We launched our first refer-a-friend scheme. When a customer recommends us to a friend – and they open an account – we’ll plant a tree to say thanks. From tiny seedlings to big screens: online banking! We made it available to personal customers, who can now manage their accounts from their desktops.
Starling for kids
Just in time for schools reopening, we launched Starling Kite – our first child-friendly product. It’s a debit card connected to an adult's Space, allowing them to monitor their child’s spending from the app. Handy.
All set to break even
We published a summer Trading Update, our Annual Report & Accounts and CEO Letter, outlining the huge progress we have made in 2020. We’re still on track to break even by the end of 2020, despite the coronavirus crisis. We surveyed 300 SMEs; two thirds expect business to return to pre-Covid levels by 2021. We also topped the CMA’s customer satisfaction survey for overdrafts. And finally, we published our online business guides written by bestselling author Della Hudson.
Our Business Toolkit, which we launched in beta in January, went live for all customers. Offering a suite of bookkeeping tools that customers can access directly from their business accounts. We also launched our business USD account, specifically for customers who deal in dollars. Penfold – the pension provider for the self-employed – joined the Marketplace.
Still bouncing back
The bouncing bank continued this month – to the tune of £500 million in loans to our business customers. Also on the business front, we launched three new services in the Starling Marketplace: from Slack, Bionic and Equipsme. Lastly, and in collaboration with the Fawcett Society, we published a report on the gender differences in household budgeting.
A contender for Starling’s busiest month on record! We launched government-backed Bounce Back loans to help struggling businesses get back on their feet, plus a partnership with Funding Circle to lend a further £300 million under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. We brought the month to a newsworthy close with another £40m funding round from our investors, bringing the total raised so far in 2020 to £100m.
Helping Britain stay home
We switched to remote working as the UK went into lockdown in March 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic. To support customers struggling as a result of the emergency, we launched mobile cheque deposits and Connected cards, allowing someone you trust to go out and shop on your behalf. We also became a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme lender, providing loans for business customers.
Opening our third office
We won big at the British Bank Awards, bringing home the trophy for Best British Bank (for the third year in a row). Talking of home: we opened up a new office in Cardiff – our third UK office to date. And finally, inspired by our latest TV ad, we conducted some research into the UK shed economy (turns out, sheds are big business!).
Making business fly
Our first business-focused ad aired this month, featuring a woman taking to the skies in a souped-up shed. Also taking off were our three latest Marketplace integrations. Lastly, we introduced Confirmation of Payee to provide additional security.
Taking care of business
We supercharged our business accounts, adding unsecured loans, bigger overdrafts and a financial management Business Toolkit (our first paid-for accounts). We also gave a warm welcome to Rosie, our financial agony aunt.
New to the Marketplace
We welcomed two shiny new additions to the Marketplace this month. First came Sparqa Legal – your (free) online business lawyer, equipped with practical guidance and customisable contracts aplenty. Then came QuickBooks – whose accounting software makes balancing your books that little bit easier. We also enabled Express Transit mode for those travelling with TfL. Londoners, you’re welcome.
Thanks a million
We became a Which? Recommended Provider and opened our one millionth account, which is a pretty big achievement – even if we do say so ourselves. On the subject of big achievements, owning your own property got a little easier this month. Habito Go, our newest Marketplace partner, allows eligible customers to become cash buyers.
As seen on TV
A murmuration of starlings flew across the nation’s screens this month, courtesy of our debut TV ad. Into our Marketplace, two-by-two, came so-sure and Nimbla. We then launched our euro business account and debit card. And to top it off, we raised another £30m in investment for our expansion into Europe next year.
Another string to our bow
In a previous life, our Head of Banking was an Olympic archer – so, it only felt right to sponsor the Archery GB National Tour Finals. Away from the range, we attended Sibos 2019 in London, launched our online banking platform for business accounts, and introduced Superscript (formerly Digital Risks) and Cyber Smart to the Marketplace for business banking.
Passing the Turing test
We made a trip up to Edinburgh to attend Turing Fest. Meanwhile, back in the office, we launched Growth Street in the Marketplace, published our letter from the CEO and reported on our progress with the Women in Finance Charter.
Pride and partnerships
Glitter, rainbow flags and banners – a colourful start participating in ‘Pride in London’. We launched two new partnerships – SumUp (Banking Services) and CreditLadder (Marketplace) and delivered business accounts for companies with multiple people with significant control.
We completed the roll out of our euro account. Our founder, Anne Boden, released ‘The Money Revolution’, her book on money management in the digital age, and the Starling Developer Podcast returned with series four. We also opened our new Southampton office, our first base outside of London.
The Star(ling) of the show
Our business bank account was the star of the show this month. We launched an advertising campaign – featuring billboards, buses and radio ads in both London and Southampton – and attended the Great British Business Show. We also celebrated our app’s second birthday.
Closing the pay gap
We launched FreeAgent integration for our business customers and published our latest gender pay gap figures. Our trophy cabinet also gained another new addition, after we won Best Open Banking Strategy of the Year at the Retail Banker International Awards.
Kicking off spring
We were named Best British Bank and Current Account Provider (for the second consecutive year) and Best Business Banking Provider at the Great British Bank Awards. We went live with 3D Secure to provide even more security for our customers.
A really big month
We announced a further £75m fund raise and were awarded £100m from a fund to boost competition in business banking. And that's not all, we started rolling out our euro accounts.
All things Anne
Starling's founder Anne published her roadmap for 2019 and went to Buckingham Palace to pick up her MBE for services to fintech. Congrats Anne!
2018, you were good to us
We ended 2018 on a high! For our business accounts, we launched Marketplace, as well as the Xero integration. Our out of home advertising campaign went live across London’s tube stations and buses. And we also got accepted onto the RBS Incentivised Switching Scheme.
Joining with the Post Office
Our partnership with the Post Office lets customers deposit and withdraw cash from their local branch. We added overdrafts to business accounts and extended the Marketplace to our business customers too. And our radio ads aired across London for the very first time.
A busy autumn
Banking-as-a-Service launches and the Current Account Switch Service (CASS) is made available for business and joint accounts. It’s now possible to make High Value Payments in-app, and Starling is named as one of the Fintech 100 list’s Leading 50!
Reaching for the Starlings
We hit 250k accounts and are listed in LinkedIn’s Top 25 Startups 2018.
A boost for borrowing
Loans finally land, alongside accounts for 16-17 year olds.
Turning banking on its head
We release our new portrait and teal card design and win Hottest fintech startup at the Europas awards.
Anne is awarded an MBE for services to fintech and we launch joint accounts, alongside sole trader accounts for Starling for business. We also add a gambling block to our app.
New ways to pay
Digitised payments get an upgrade with the launch of Google in-app provisioning and Garmin Pay.
International Payments is launched and Starling raises another £10m in investment.
Starling wins Best British Bank and Best Current Account provider at the British Bank Awards 2018! Plus after months of hard work, Starling for business launches alongside our campaign for more gender equality in finance.
Big launches and bigger wins
Anne wins the Industry Achievement Award at the Card and Payment Awards 2018. Settle Up sets sail and Marketplace continues to grow.
Series two of the Developer Podcast begins.
In first place
Starling is officially the first UK digital challenger bank to become a member of the Single Euro Payments Area payments system.
Permissions and payments
Our Marketplace gets the permissions it needs to start expanding. Starling wins B2B Payments Innovation of the Year at the Payment Awards 2018.
Opening the gates
The app’s waitlist is removed and we launch our saving tool Goals. We get the go-ahead from the PRA to start moving Starling Payment Services forward.
Starling’s Marketplace officially launches with digital receipts app Flux, giving customers access to other financial products straight from their app. We also launch Android Pay.
Podcasts and pictures
Series one of the Developer Podcast launches and we add the ability to add photos to payees.
An Apple a day
We’re the first bank in the UK to do in-app provisioning and launch Apple Pay for Starling.
A month well spent
Team Starling hits the big 100 and we launch our first major money management feature, Spending Insights.
Public service announcement
Starling is released to the public for the first time, and in the process becomes the UK’s first mobile bank! We also sign the Women in Finance Charter as a commitment to helping women progress in finance.
The Prudential Regulation Authority lifts its restriction which means we are able to accept more than £50,000 of deposits in total – and to celebrate, we throw Starling’s first Hackathon!
The big switch
Starling becomes the very first digital bank to join the Current Account Switch Service.
A beta way
It’s a big moment for Starling as our app finally launches in beta.
The fast track
Starling joins the Faster Payments scheme.
Direct debits are officially a go.
Alpha testing begins for the first version of our mobile app.
Playing our cards right
The first Mastercard debit cards are used in the real world.
Looking after number one
Starling is now 30 strong and authorised as a bank by the PRA (with restriction) – and our very first accounts are put into production.
A good investment
After a hard-won investment round that raises £48 million, the bank is finally ready for building.
A licence to bank
Our banking licence application is officially submitted.
Setting the wheels in motion
The team grows and the first technical prototypes for Starling begin to take shape.
We become a limited company and begin talks with the Prudential Regulation Authority and Financial Conduct Authority.
Our founder Anne sees the potential for a new kind of bank and starts to put a team together to build what will later become Starling.