A young investor whose £1,000 investment in Monzo before it fully launched which is now worth around £28,000 said he’d never heard of the challenger bank at the time.

Earlier this week, Monzo published its annual results, reporting pre-tax profits of £15.4 million on revenues of £880m.

The challenger bank, founded in 2015, has 9.7m customers and is heralded as a UK startup success story.

Rewind to 2016 and Monzo, or Mondo as it was then known, was a very different beast.

Back then, the challenger bank was in alpha mode, had 30,000 people on its waitlist, had sent 1,000 cards to testers in five countries, and boasted just £5,000 in revenues.

In 2016, Monzo offered investors on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube the chance to buy up to three per cent of its business at a £29m valuation.

“Just under 2000 savvy investors took a punt on Monzo, who now will be very glad they did,” according to Seb Johnson, who regularly posts about fintechs on LinkedIn.

But even back then, in Monzo’s early days, there was a word-of-mouth buzz around the challenger bank, notably among the young.

In fact, the excitement around the challenger bank was such that Crowdcube crashed as fans scrambled to invest in the neobank.

The crowdfund went on to raise £1m in a record-breaking 96 seconds.

Callum Whyte, then 20, invested £1,000 in the crowdfund, enticed by the excitement Monzo was generating.

Whyte, who is also a Monzo customer, said: “In honesty, I had never heard of it.

“It trended on Twitter because it crashed Crowdcube when it first launched from the demand. I saw it and thought ‘agh this is a really interesting product’.”

Whtye, who calls himself a cautious investor and who works in tech, went on to invest in all of Monzo’s other crowdfunding rounds, investing around £5,000 in total.

He says his investment is now worth around £55,000, though this investment has yet to be realised.

“Everything Monzo was doing was then cool,” he adds, saying he liked the way Monzo was trying to build a community, along with its zippy technology.

And was Monzo the best investment Whyte had made? Yes, he says, although he says he’s also done quite well out of crypto.

Investors like Whyte must wait for an exit for financial gains to be realised, but this could be soon amid speculation of an expected Monzo IPO.

Whyte’s £1,000 investment is now worth over £28,000, based on Monzo’s current valuation of £3.6bn.

And does he want a quick Monzo IPO, so he can cash in? He says he is “not in a rush”.

He says: “I think the product needs to be in the right place. I would like them to mature the product, get it into the right place and then an IPO.”

He says that Monzo has “never really been competitive” in the savings and credit space.

Another investor who took part in the Crowdcube campaign was Matteo Gamba, who was then 30, and also invested £1,000.

“I would have invested more but it was capped,” he said.

Like Whyte, Gamba, who now works for e-commerce firm Wayfair, has been a repeat crowdfunding investor in Monzo, investing around £5,000.

He got wind of Monzo as Gamba used to work at Wise and Monzo co-founder Tom Blomfield gave a presentation showcasing the early Monzo.

Gamba, beguiled by the presentation, became Monzo member 900 and something.

Gamba says: “I started using the card before it was officially launched. I just liked the product. I liked seeing people with the coral card around London.

“I really liked the way the way they were building the product.”

Gamga says the Monzo investment is his best to date.

On getting a return on his investment, he said “obviously having that return would be good” but said he is in no hurry for it to happen.