THE online bank that created 150 jobs in Southampton last month is expecting to have a million customers within weeks after raising £30million in new funds.

Starling, the digital-only bank that opened at the city’s Beresford House, secured the money to drive a European expansion programme.

The challenger bank said it had brought in £20m from TransferWise and Klarna investor Merian Chrysalis Investment Company, with an extra £10m from existing investor JTC.

The money will be used to help expand into Europe, and management are in discussions with the Central Bank of Ireland to win an Irish banking licence.

This would give it passporting rights into the European Union even after the UK leaves the bloc, enabling it to operate in Germany, France and the Netherlands.

The passporting principle means that any EU banking licence can be used in other member countries.

Starling did not reveal the valuation against which the funds were raised. It has managed to attract £263m to date.

In February, a Merian Global Investor-led round raised £75 million.

Chief executive Anne Boden said the bank had “come a long way” since that investment earlier this year. It has launched new features and speeded up the number of customers opening accounts.

“This latest investment of £20m from Merian Chrysalis will support Starling’s rapid growth and help us reach one million customers and £1 billion on deposit within weeks,” said Ms Boden.

“It will also help us accelerate our global expansion, starting in Europe, so that even more people can benefit from the Starling app.”

Starling’s Southampton opening created up to 50 jobs for software engineers and 100 for customer service staff.

The bank chose Southampton because of its growing reputation as a tech hub, supported by the city’s two universities.

It is one of a host of digital-only challenger banks that have sprung up in recent years aiming to take market share from traditional lenders.

At the opening event last month, Anne Boden said: “We are growing so fast that we are rapidly running out of space in our London offices.

“What really attracts us to Southampton is its entrepreneurial spirit and its level of tech talent.

“We’re looking for new people – engineers as well as customer service team members – to join us in Southampton now and will be expanding the office quickly.”

Starling 700 people across its London and Southampton offices and soon open a location in Cardiff.

Its Dublin office employs three people, and it will open sites in other European countries when it expands into them.

Earlier this month, the bank launched a major advertising push with posters and a short TV advert.