Automata, a fintech startup based in France and the UK, has raised €2 million to create an alternative system of investing, digital banking and retail payments, whereby a shopper could pay for an everyday item with stock. The round of private investments is part of the company’s ongoing Series A, which has a target of €7 million.

The startup also took an unconventional approach to its own fundraising. The funding was raised through an equity token offering, allowing the public to acquire real equity in the company and thereby creating a decentralized IPO. When the mobile app launches, users will be able to buy equity tokens directly in the app, becoming shareholders in their own bank.

That bank is called akt.io. Automata, founded in 2017 by Gael Itier, is the umbrella company and creator of the neobank, which merges AI-powered investment technology, decentralised finance and payment solutions in a single platform. The platform enables customers to make automated fractional investments, earn daily interest pay-outs by depositing funds into high-yield vaults, and buy and exchange financial assets directly.

Akt.io also lets users pay for things with any owned currency, asset or vault using the ‘Wealth Card’. The company says users can buy a cup of coffee with Tesla stock, for example. That sliver of invested capital would then be sold and exchanged automatically to cover the cost of the coffee (leaving the user to wonder how badly they need that caffeine anyway). Akt.io says this way, people can grow their wealth while keeping it accessible for spending.

Automata started in France and currently has 15 employees. The fresh capital will go to akt.io’s product development and the rollout of its ‘Wealth Card’ to the UK.

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