A new challenger bank is literally handing out free shares (grab one quick!)

By Oliver Smith 6 April 2016

Too good to be true? Tandem is has an invite-only scheme for anyone to become a co-founder in this challenger bank.

Just weeks after digital challenger bank Mondo raised £1m by selling shares through equity crowdfunding, rival bank Tandem is inviting anyone to become a “co-founder” in its business and handing out free shares for those who join.

“On my card it says ‘Co-founder #1’ this is a private programme that’s invite-only, for people who can help us to build a bank all the way along the journey,” Tandem co-founder Ricky Knox told The Memo at Money 20/20 in Copenhagen this week.

Read more: Tandem boss Ricky Knox on flashy apps and building a bank

Tandem will be giving each ‘co-founder’ a share in the company as well as exclusive access to Tandem’s upcoming beta as it starts rolling out quite soon over the summer and invites to Tandem events.

“We started by inviting 10 people, now we’re at 2,500 and it’s about to grow,” said Knox.

As mentioned, the ‘co-founder’ programme is invite-only for now, and if a co-founder refers five new co-founders, they get an additional share in Tandem.

“We want our co-founders to participate in the creation of Tandem because our customers are so important to our business, most banks forget this.”

Too good to be true?

With new banks like Mondo, Tandem and Atom Bank playing in the most exciting (and valuable) areas of financial technology, the future of our bank accounts, Knox’s pitch for co-founders almost seems too good to be true.

Read more: 4 digital challenger banks worth watching

“Involving our customers as shareholders is key, there’s no catch,” says Knox.

“They are ordinary non-voting shares we’re giving out, and they’re treated the same as all of our other shares, the only difference is the voting element.”

We asked Knox whether these shareholding co-founders might ever see a return on their free shares if the business is ever acquired or floated on the stock market, Knox said:

“They have exactly the same economic interest as other shares in the business… and we’re planning to IPO Tandem [hold an initial public offering on the stock exchange], that’s the end goal.”

Help build a new bank and with the possibility that one day your share might actually be worth something? Sounds like a no-brainer to us.

You can sign-up to become a co-founder in Tandem here (and if you need a referral code, ours is LKJDP).