London, 14 July 2022: Today, Lightyear announces a $25M Series A equity round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners. The company’s seed investors, Mosaic Ventures, Taavet+Sten and Metaplanet also took part in the round alongside a number of new and existing angel investors.
Joining Lightspeed in this new investment round is the Virgin Group – an organisation which champions driving positive change through new technologies and joins the Series A as an investor. The fresh funding comes at the same time as Lightyear’s expansion into 19 European markets, just nine months after it launched in the UK.
Lightyear combines multi-currency accounts with unlimited access to global markets so customers can invest freely without hidden fees. The European launch today enables customers from 19 different countries to now access thousands of US and European stocks in addition to Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). Countries part of this first European rollout include Ireland, the Baltics and most of Western Europe such as Spain, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Netherlands and France.
Lightyear was founded by ex-Wise duo Martin Sokk and Mihkel Aamer to bring a global mindset to the European investment world. Traditionally, if investors in Europe want access to international markets they are hit with transaction and custody fees, but most notably, hidden foreign exchange fees. With their multi-currency accounts, where you can add, hold and invest in different currencies, Lightyear seamlessly bridges the gaps between international markets for customers.
Since launching to the UK market last year, Lightyear has tripled its stock universe, launched an industry first social investment feature - Lightyear Profiles - and added a suite of new products and features to bolster its data and education offering, all accessible in the app for free. From professional analyst ratings and price targets to live news feeds without paywalls, Lightyear customers have access to a wealth of information before making an investment decision.
The new $25 million in funding supports the company’s plans to expand across Europe. Starting with 19 countries in the Eurozone, Lightyear has become the first neobroker to unlock most of Europe in one move, coming just a few months after the initial UK launch last year. With no trading fees, no account fees and no custody fees, Lightyear is entering most European countries as the most competitively priced investment platform on the market with an advanced product suite and slick app experience. As one of the fastest moving brokerages in Europe, Lightyear also has its sights set on non-Euro countries next including places like Sweden, Norway, Romania, Poland and Hungary.
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.”
Martin Sokk, Co-founder and CEO at Lightyear, adds:“Nine months ago, we launched our app in the UK to initial waitlisters. 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.”
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.”
From today, Lightyear will be onboarding 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.
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