Starling Bank’s new office in Southampton marks an exciting new chapter in the company’s life and a milestone for me personally.

Situated on the waterfront in Town Quay, the new office has fantastic views over the marina and cruise ship terminals and is full of light. Its proximity to the city centre and the central train station (not to mention the coffee bar downstairs) make it the perfect launchpad for our first venture outside of London. Soon we hope that 150 new employees will be working there in engineering, customer service and operations.

The newly-refurbished building, Beresford House, is also steeped in history. It stands on the site of a former warehouse that played a key role during D-Day in World War 2, housing some of the combined operations forces that made the landings possible. This combination of new and old seems fitting for Starling, a forward-thinking digital bank that exists to disrupt the old order.

For me it represents something more. It’s a coming of age. It’s the sixth office Starling has occupied since I founded the company in 2014. In the very early days, my office was the branch of Pain Au Quotidien on Marylebone High Street in London, where I would sit myself down with a laptop, drinking endless cups of tea while I wrote email after email to get my big idea off the ground.

I also spent a lot of time working (rent free) out of the customer service lounges of both KPMG and PWC as I tried to interest them in my idea to start a bank from scratch. When I felt I had outstayed my welcome in one, I moved to the other. They never actually complained. Well, not to my face.

Finding our home

Starling’s first proper office, in Peter’s Lane, in Farringdon, London, was something that estate agents might describe as ‘having potential’ - the only entry was via an external fire escape (not easy in heels). We later moved to offices in four different locations before we arrived at 2 Finsbury Avenue in the City. We have since settled into our very smart HQ, just by Spitalfields Market.

Starling owes much of its success to London’s thriving fintech community, its entrepreneurial culture and its access to finance. But I passionately believe that London’s success as a fintech hub should enable it to spread wealth beyond the capital city through all the UK and the wider economy. That’s exactly what we’re doing with the new office.

Spreading wealth beyond the capital

Why did we chose Southampton? The city’s growing and skilled jobs market, its reputation as a burgeoning tech hub, transport links and easy access to London - as well as its reputation for fostering well-being in its workplaces - are among the factors that attracted us.

It’s also recently been identified as a technology ‘Super Cluster’ based on the level, concentration and growth of tech sector employment in the city. Its tech scene is supported by the University of Southampton and Solent University.

Southampton University supports the Web Science Institute, bringing together world-leading experts to tackle the biggest challenges facing the web and society. It is also a founding member of the SETsquared partnership, a business incubation network run by the five leading research-led UK universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey. Southampton’s Science Park is home to the Catalyst incubator programme for business startups, while the city hosts many tech events and meet-ups.

Our new office, which will be open at the end of May 2019, will enable Starling to build out its business banking offer, better serve its fast-growing base of more than 600,000 customers and tap into the area’s talent base.

Article updated: 18th July 2022.

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