Fintech veterans launch new trading app Lightyear with $8.5m from Monzo backer & Wise founder

By Daniel Lanyon on Wednesday 15 September 2021

Savings and Investment

Mosaic Ventures leads the recently launched fintech's seed round, with further cash coming from other venture capitalists and angel investors.

Fintech veterans launch new trading app Lightyear with $8.5m from Monzo backer & Wise founder
Image source: Martin Sokk and Mihkel Aamer

Lightyear, a new stock trading app, has raised $8.5m and started onboarding customers to its app from a 5,000 strong waiting list. 

The new cash, which tops up the firm’s funding to $10m, comes from Habito backer Mosaic Ventures, who are the round’s lead investors, Taavet+Sten, the investment firm of Wise founder Taavet Hinrikus and Teleport’s Sten Tamkivi, as well a Metaplanet’s Jaan Tallinn and early Monzo backer Eileen Burbidge.

In the summer of 2021, it raised its $1.5m pre-seed round with cash principally from Hinrikus, Tamkivi and Tallinn. Ott Kaukver, the CTO at Checkout.com, Wander Rutgers, the former President of Robinhood UK and Kaarel Kotkas, the founder of Veriff also participated.

Lightyear is founded by early Wise, formerly Transferwise) alumni Martin Sokk and Mihkel Aamer. Nishil Parekh, Revolut’s former trading lead, is also one of its early employees leading Lightyear’s product development. A number of other hires, AltFi understands, come from Robinhoods’aborted UK launch team.

In what is clearly a competitive field, with the likes of Freetrade stealing an early UK lead in the commission-free stock trading boom, Lightyear’s first iteration of its product combines multi-currency accounts with fee-free access to 1000 global stocks. This includes no charges for foreign exchange conversion. 

Lightyear is targeting to fully launch across Europe in the first six months of 2022.

Sokk and Mihkel Aamer say that working on removing the friction of sending money abroad during their time at Wise inspired them to do the same with investing.

“10 months ago Lightyear was just an idea, so we’re really excited to have raised a total of $10m, hired a world-class team and to be launching the first iteration of our app. There are more people in Europe investing now than ever before, but there’s still a very long way to go. Our goal is to give all of Europe access to the world’s markets without hidden fees and to make investing cognitively easy. We’re excited to have such a strong group of investors that share this vision with us,” Sokk said.

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