London-based Lightyear, a commission-free investment platform, announced on Thursday that it has secured $25M (approximately €24.9M) in a Series A round of funding led by Lightspeed Venture Partners.
Richard Branson’s Virgin Group joined existing investors Mosaic Ventures, Taavet+Sten, and Metaplanet in the Series A round. To date, the company has raised a total of $35M.
Expansion to Europe
The funding comes as the UK company expands into 19 European markets – Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain.
From today, European customers can access thousands of US and European stocks in addition to Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). The expansion comes nine months after the company’s launch in the UK.
With no trading fees, no account fees, and no custody fees, Lightyear is entering most European countries as the most competitively priced investment platform.
Lightyear says the funds will help it to accelerate further expansion across Europe. Further, the company also plans to expand its operation to non-Euro countries next, including Sweden, Norway, Romania, Poland, and Hungary.
Martin Sokk, co-founder and CEO of Lightyear, says, “Nine months ago, we launched our app in the UK to initial waitlist. Fast forward to now, and we’ve secured a European licence that enables us 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 the world’s markets without hidden fees and to make investing easy for everyone. We’re so excited to welcome Nicole and Lightspeed, alongside the Virgin Group, onto our strong bench of investors that share this vision with us and have such deep experience in growing successful businesses from the very start of their journey.”
Lightyear: What you need to know
Founded by ex-Wise duo Martin Sokk and Mihkel Aamer, Lightyear combines multi-currency accounts with access to global markets so that customers can invest freely without unnecessary barriers and fees.
Since its inception, the company has tripled its stock universe, launched a social investment feature called Lightyear Profiles, and added a suite of new products and features to bolster its data and education offering – all in the app for free.
Further, customers can access information such as professional analyst ratings, price targets, and live news feeds without paywalls before making an investment decision.
Based out of California, Lightspeed Venture Partners is a venture capital firm that engages in consumer, enterprise, technology, and cleantech markets.
Nicole Quinn, Partner at Lightspeed says, “Having lived and worked on both sides of the pond, I’ve seen first-hand the pain points for Europeans trying to access the financial markets as easily as their counterparts in the US. Lightyear is trying to fix this with a platform that customers not only love and trust, but one that understands the nuances between different regulations, languages, exchanges, and cultural investing norms. There is no single neobroker offering products across the continent right now, and the potential is enormous. Martin and Mihkel have assembled an all-star team to achieve this goal, and we couldn’t be more excited to support them all on this journey.”
Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group says, “For too long, financial markets have been overly complex with high barriers to entry and confusing jargon. Martin, Mihkel, and the Lightyear team are lifting the lid on the world of investing – making it more transparent whilst empowering people through education – to choose the products which are right for them.”