By Daniel Lanyon on Thursday 3 March 2022
The boom in demand for investment-focused startups from venture capital continues with a record series A for the European digital wealth space.
Shares, a new stock trading app that aims to bring ‘social investing’ to the UK, has raised a $40m Series A round.
Co-Founded by Benjamin Chemla (CEO), Francois Ruty, Chief Technology Officer and Harjas Singh, Chief Product Officer, the company is less than a year old.
In just nine months the company has, however, hired over 130 full-time employees and established its first three offices in London, Paris and Krakow.
Now fully live, the Shares app has been quietly onboarding customers in a closed beta from a 60,000 strong UK waitlist, it said in a media release. Its Europe launch is also expected to happen soon.
The round was led by Valar Ventures, the venture fund of billionaire Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel. Singular and Global Founders Capital also took part.
Social investing aims to harness the power of social media networks and bring it the retail investment market. It is tipped to be a huge growth area in the coming years following the momentum built up in the past year since the Gamestop and rise of trading among younger people.
Shares is the latest example of the trend coming to the UK following Lightyear's launch last year. Shares says it wants to “democratise and demystify investment" by giving family, friends and experienced investors i.e your trusted network a single place to discuss investment ideas.
When buying or selling on Shares, users can share their views on the investment they are marking with their close circles by sharing captions and GIFs.
An ‘activity feed’ means you can keep track of their friends’ investments in real-time and react to them through likes and comments.
The app currently has “hundreds of stocks” that users can access from just £1 without trading fees.
“The use of social networks has fundamentally changed how we interact with friends and family, what we talk about and how we make decisions. With being more connected than ever, why shouldn’t it improve the way we think about investments too?,” said Harjas Singh, a former exec at Revolut.
“People are already using solutions like Whatsapp, Telegram and joining communities to talk about trading. We’ve realised there is a need for an investment product that allows groups of friends to invest, discuss and share their investment journey. At Shares, we decided to bring it all together,” he added.
The social element “is integral to the experience, not an afterthought” says Singh who believes it will appeal to a new generation of investors.
“In less than nine months we’ve built an investing product with an incredible back-office capability with sophisticated AML & Fin-crime detection systems. We are already in a position to compete with the biggest players in the market and are on our way to build a category leader," he added.
"I am very proud of the team we've built in just a few months, 130 talents coming from the best tech companies across Europe in order to launch Shares, a whole new category of investing product. The app is inspired by our own experiences as retail investors and we wanted to improve people's journey by combining trading with a community element that would radically transform the way people approach finance,” said Benjamin Chemla, CEO & Co-Founder of Shares.
“We’re on a mission to help people connect, share experiences and invest in long-term financial wellness and a better future for themselves, together. From the UK, to Europe and beyond, launching today is the first giant leap toward giving everyone what’s missing in the experience of investing today.”