Twitter founder Biz Stone joins board of UK financial technology start-up R8

   2019-04-14 22:04



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Twitter co-founder Biz Stone – Bloomberg

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone has joined the board of British financial technology firm R8 as it prepares for a listing on the London Stock Exchange in this summer.

Stone, who recently returned to Twitter to work alongside co-founder Jack Dorsey, will invest as part of £4m of new funding in R8.

Founded by Jonathan Rowland, son of major Tory party donor David Rowland, R8 controls a group of technology start-ups, including cryptocurrency company Mode and electronic payments company Jgoo.

R8 is aiming to go public later this year with plans to raise around £20m at a valuation of up to £50m. 

Twitter’s Stone has been a notable early stage investor in a number of US start-ups, including payments company Square and workplace messaging company Slack.

R8 has kept its plans out of the public eye, but has described its plans to develop “a large fintech project with a very ambitious goal… to build the first fully regulated, crypto-friendly bank in the UK”.

R8 was spun out of challenger bank Redwood Bank. Founded in 2015, Redwood Bank began as “a niche business bank focused to lending to SMEs and very simple deposit products,” Rowland said.

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But with a broader ambition to offer services including cryptocurrencies and payments services, Rowland divested and separated R8 from Redwood.

R8’s companies include Jgoo, which offers payment services and has merchant acquirer deals for some of China’s biggest technology companies, including Tencent and Alibaba. 

Its other major venture is Mode, a start-up focusing on cryptocurrencies and creating a “supercharged next gen digital banking,” Rowland said.

“The grand plan is to create a global financial institution using very modern technology and trying to hurdle different regulation,” Rowland told The Daily Telegraph.

Other investors in R8 include American businessman David Bonderman, founder of TPG Capital, Lee Robinson of Altana and US hedge fund Falcon Edge Capital. R8 expects to go public around July.

R8 will avoid the well-trodden route of current UK financial technology companies, directly listing on the public stock exchange rather than raising from venture capital funds.


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