Monzo founder Tom Blomfield has joined startup accelerator and venture capital firm Y Combinator as a group partner.
Blomfield departed the UK challenger bank in 2021 after admitting that the pressure of growing the firm in the midst of a global pandemic had taken a toll on his mental health.
He has since emerged as a prolific angel investor, joining funding rounds for the likes of Danish payroll automation startup Pento, expense management platform Jeeves, InsurTech BondAval, South African fintech Stitch, Nigerian digital bank Umba, generative AI startup Robin AI, Brazillian bill-splitting app Noh, and AUs RegTech frankieOne.
Blomfield is a former graduate of Y Combinator, having participated in the accelerator programme with his first startup GoCardless.
Having steered both GoCardless and Monzo to Unicorn status, Blomfield’s role as a group partner at Y Combinator will bring all that experience to bear assisting companies on their startup journey through the accelerator, from validating early-stage ideas to assembling boards, scaling teams, managing multiple offices, and raising funds during later stages.
Having been put through the mill at multiple funding rounds, Blomfield appreciates more than most the advantages of being inquisitive and courteous during pitch meetings.
During his transition from founder to investor, Blomfield says he encountered some "shitty" VCs, naming the London team of $150 billion Softbank Vision Fund as "one particularly egregious example of bad behaviour".
Softbank, he writes, would regularly leave Blomfield waiting in the lobby for an hour or more before meetings.
However, it was once the meetings eventually started that things got really ugly: "The lead partner took meetings barefoot, and would pick his feet incessantly. During one meeting, he lit a cigarette and smoked it in his office, windows closed. He finally put the it down in his lunch plate, and poured his coffee over the cigarette to extinguish it."
Any startup contemplating a pitch to Y Combinator would do well to read Blomfield's blog on the subject: 'How to raise investment'. Written before the tech downturn but containing invalauable advice on how to put together a winning pitch and court prospective investors.
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