London-based investment app Shares has closed $40 million in funding to tap into a boom in retail trading brought on by the pandemic. With the fresh round, the fintech has now raised $90 million to date. The new cash will drive its expansion across Europe. Shares expects to go live in the rest of Europe by the end of the year. The startup also plans to enter the Web 3 space and roll out its crypto-asset proposition.
Leading the round was Peter Thiel-founded Valar Ventures. The $40-million Series B funding comes on the back of one of Europe’s largest-ever seed rounds of $10 million pre-product in 2021 and $40-million in a Series A round in March this year. The company’s earlier investors include early backers of N26, Wise and co-founder of Freetrade.
Founded in 2022 by Benjamin Chemla, François Ruty, and Harjas Singh, the UK-based company offers a ‘social trading’ platform aimed at first-time investors. Shares was launched after the pandemic sparked a surge in retail trading and scores of first-time investors took to apps to put spare cash into the stock market. The app combines the simplicity of an investment product with all the features users would expect from a social media app to create a unique trading community offering users no-minimum, no fee access to hundreds of stocks from just £1.
Key features include social trading where users can buy or sell and share their views on the investments by sharing captions and GIFs. Members can keep track of all their friends’ investments in real-time and group watchlists can help users to track next opportunities together with friends.
A clear indication that investors are eyeballing a game-changing product, the app was the second most downloaded UK Finance App on the Apple App Store and has racked up over 150,000 users since going live in the U.K. in May. Its user base underscores the shifting demographic of investors, with 66 per cent of those being Gen Z (below 25) and 26 per cent millennials (26-41).
Benjamin Chemla, Shares founder and CEO said: “This latest investment from Valar Ventures will only serve to reinforce our growing momentum. We are also now looking at the next stage of expansion into Europe that in turn will act as a springboard into international audiences.”
James Fitzgerald, partner at Valar Ventures, said: “The U.K. launch was a great achievement, and we can’t wait to see Shares growing throughout Europe. This was an opportunity for us to invest in an innovative social trading company that challenges the status quo of traditional retail investing.”