Founded by Estonian entrepreneurs Martin Sok and Mihkel Aamer, London-based Lightyear closes a $25 million Series A round led by Silicon Valley’s Lightspeed Venture Partners with participation from Virgin Group and its seed investors, Mosaic Ventures, Taavet+Sten and Metaplanet together with a number of new and existing angel investors. The startup offers a new way to invest in over 3,000 global stocks and funds from Europe, the US and beyond with no trading, account or custody fees. This funding will help Lightyear expand across Europe, first starting in 19 countries and later in more countries such as Sweden, Norway, Romania, Poland and Hungary.
Movement at Lightspeed: We closed a $25 million Series A
Lightyear announces a $25 million Series A equity round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners. The company’s initial investors, Mosaic Ventures, Taavet+Sten and Metaplanet, also participated in the round along with a number of new and existing angel investors.
Joining Lightspeed in this new round of investment is Virgin Group – an organization committed to driving positive change through new technologies and joining the Series A as an investor. The new 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 clients can invest freely without hidden fees. The European launch today allows clients from 19 different countries to now access thousands of US and European stocks in addition to exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Countries that are part of this first European rollout include Ireland, the Baltics and most of Western Europe, such as Spain, Germany, Italy, Portugal, the Netherlands and France.
Lightyear was founded by former Wise duo Martin Sokk and Mihkel Aamer to bring a global mindset to the European investment world. Traditionally, if investors in Europe want to access international markets, they are hit with transaction and custody fees, but most of all, hidden foreign exchange fees. With its multi-currency accounts, where you can add, hold and invest in different currencies, Lightyear seamlessly bridges the gap between international markets for customers.
Since launching in the UK market last year, Lightyear has tripled its stock universe, launched the industry’s first social investment feature – Lightyear Profiles – and added a range of new products and features to strengthen its data and education offering, all available in the app for for free. From professional analyst ratings and price targets to live news without a paywall, Lightyear users 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 neo-broker to unlock most of Europe in one go, just months after its initial launch in the UK last year. With no trading fees, no account fees and no custodial fees, Lightyear enters most European countries as the most competitive investment platform on the market with an advanced product suite and excellent application experience. As one of the fastest growing brokerages in Europe, Lightyear is also targeting non-EU countries, 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 financial markets as easily as their US counterparts. Lightyear is trying to fix that with a platform that customers not only love and trust, but one that understands the nuances between different regulations, languages, exchanges and cultural investment norms.
There is currently no single neo-broker offering products across the continent, and the potential is huge. 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 of Lightyear, adds:“Nine months ago we launched our app in the UK for the first waiting lists. Fast forward to now, and we’ve secured a European license that allows us to launch across the continent and raise 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 so excited to welcome Nicole and Lightspeed, along with Virgin Group, to our strong bench of investors who share this vision with us and have such deep experience in growing successful businesses from the very beginning of their journey.”
Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group says: “For too long, financial markets have been too complex with high barriers to entry and confusing jargon. Martin, Mihkel and the Lightyear team are lifting the lid on the investment world – making it more transparent, while empowering people through education – to choose the products that are right for them.”
Starting today, Lightyear will accept users from the following 19 European countries: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.
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