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LONDON — Singer Will.i.am is joining the board of startup, app-only bank Atom as a "strategic advisor."
Atom announced the news on Monday, saying the Black Eyed Peas singer and The Voice judge will "provide the Durham-based bank with an external perspective on culture, philanthropy and technology."
Will.i.am said in an emailed statement from Atom:
"Our lives are faster than ever before, but the banking industry hasn’t kept up. The scale of Atom’s ambition to help people understand and manage their money better, and it’s clever use of technology to give people an entire bank on their phones is awesome. I’m looking forward to working with Atom to achieve success in everything we will do together."
Atom's founder and chairman Anthony Thompson said:
"Like us, will.i.am believes that technology can better and simplify our lives, which is at the heart of all that we are passionate about at Atom. As we develop the range of products and services on offer to customers, will.i.am’s unique view on the world and knowledge of future trends will be a great asset for us."
Thompson, who also helped set up High Street challenger bank Metro, set up Atom in 2014. The bank opened digital savings accounts to the public in the middle of last year and has already attracted over £100 million in deposits. It recently launched a digital mortgage product.
Atom has raised over £200 million in equity funding from investors including Spanish banking giant BBVA and City fund manager Woodford Asset Management.
Sky reported in February that Will.i.am would also invest in the startup as part of the deal, acquiring a £4 million stake. A spokesperson for Atom on Monday confirmed that Will.i.am has a share option package as part of the terms of the deal but declined to give any more specifics.
The Will.i.am deal was set up by entertainment marketing agency ITB, which has helped set up past deals such as Katy Perry advertising H&M and Pharrell promoting G Star Raw jeans.
Blackeyed Peas singer Will.i.am has dabbled in tech over the last few years, investing in startups such as app Knock Knock and launching gadgets such as his own line of headphones.
Atom is one of a number of startup, app-only banks that have sprung up in the UK recently. Others include Monzo, Starling, Tandem, and B, set up by the Clydesdale Bank.
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