Investment platform Lightyear has raised £21.1 million in a Series A funding round led by Silicon Valley-based Lightspeed Venture Partners.
The app combines multi-currency accounts with access to global markets so customers can invest freely without hidden fees. Just nine months after launching in the UK, it has today launched in 19 European countries, allowing users there to access thousands of US and European stocks in addition to exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
Countries included in this first European distribution include Ireland, the Baltics and most Western European countries such as Spain, Germany, Italy, Portugal, the Netherlands and France.
Lightyear was founded by ex-Wise duo Martin Sock and Michkel Aamer to allow investors to access global equities without the traditional hit of transaction, escrow and currency fees.
Since launching in the UK, Lightyear tripled the inventory available on its platform. It also offers educational and informational content, including professional analyst ratings, price targets and live news feeds without paid access.
The company’s original investors, Mosaic Ventures, Taavet+Sten and Metaplanet, also participated in the round, along with a number of new and existing angel investors.
Lightspeed was joined in this new round of investment by Virgin Group, founded by entrepreneur Richard Branson.
“Having lived and worked on both sides of the (Atlantic) pond, I’ve seen firsthand the pain points for Europeans trying to access financial markets as easily as their US counterparts,” said Nicole Quinn, partner at Speed light.
“Lightyear is trying to fix this with a platform that customers not only love and trust, but that understands the nuances between different investment rules, languages, exchanges and cultural norms.
“Right now, there is not a single neo-broker offering products on the entire continent, and the potential is huge. Martin and Michkel have assembled an all-star team to achieve this goal, and we couldn’t be more excited to support them all along the way.”
Sock added: “Nine months ago we launched our program in the UK for early adopters. Fast forward: we have secured a European license to launch across the continent and raised one of the largest Series A rounds in 2022.
“But our goal remains the same: to give all of Europe access to global markets without hidden fees and to make investing easy for everyone. We are delighted to welcome Nicole and Lightspeed, as well as Virgin Group, to our strong bench of investors, who share this vision with us and have extensive experience in developing successful businesses from the very beginning of their journey.”
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Starting today, Lightyear will accept customers from the following 19 European countries: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain .
£21.1m Silicon Valley funding as Lightyear launches in Europe