Monzo founder tells of a picky investor at Arm's owner SoftBank

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Founder of Monzo claims that boss at SoftBank – the firm at centre of row over future of tech giant Arm – sat in business meeting picking his feet


Wrong footed: Tom Blomfield claimed the SoftBank executive wore no shoes

Wrong footed: Tom Blomfield claimed the SoftBank executive wore no shoes

The founder of Monzo has claimed that an executive at SoftBank – the investment firm at the centre of a row over the future of tech giant Arm – sat in a business meeting picking his feet. 

Tom Blomfield, who set up the banking app in 2015, said the unnamed executive at Japanese giant SoftBank also smoked during the meeting. Blomfield had made an approach to SoftBank while attempting to raise funds to launch his business. He had already pitched ‘multiple times’ to the powerful investor, which backs Uber and WeWork, along with the British chipmaker Arm. 

He said: ‘It seemed like standard practice during my visits to the London office to make me wait in the lobby – often for an hour or more.’ 

Blomfield said in his blog: ‘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 it down in his lunch plate and poured his coffee over the cigarette to extinguish it.’ 

Blomfield said he ‘didn’t know if it was some weird power play or if he just lacked any kind of manners’. 

He regretted not leaving the meeting, but didn’t want to ‘blow’ his chances of landing the investment. 

Blomfield’s remarks have taken on extra significance as SoftBank has come under the spotlight over its plans for the future of Arm, the UK’s flagship tech company. SoftBank plans to float the Cambridge-based firm in the US, in a body blow to the City. It had initially hoped to sell Arm to US rival Nvidia but the $40billion (£30 billion) deal fell through. 

Blomfield stepped down as chief executive of Monzo in May 2020 and handed the reins to TS Anil, a former Standard Chartered banker.

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