Institutional investors line up for Tumelo’s $19m fundraise ahead of US expansion

By Daniel Lanyon on Wednesday 11 May 2022

Digital BankingSavings and Investment

Tumelo’s technology is currently used by Legal & General, Aviva Investors, Fidelity, Cushon, Wealthyhood, and iClima.

Institutional investors line up for Tumelo’s $19m fundraise ahead of US expansion
Image source: Tumelo/Will Goodwin, Georgia Stewart and Ben King.

Tumelo, a fintech helping retail investors express their views on public companies they have shares in through pensions and other collective funds, has raised $19m in a Series A round. 

Fund managers have traditionally acted on behalf of private investors by voting on their behalf at shareholder meetings. Tumelo wants to change that and help retail investors express their wishes through shareholder voting rights on issues such as climate change and gender equality.

Powered by APIs, investors are given an overview of companies where their money is being invested, then they are “given a voice on the issues that matter most to them”, according to a media release. 

The vote preferences collected from investors are sent to fund managers.

Tumelo’s technology is currently used by Legal & General, Aviva Investors, Fidelity, Cushon, Wealthyhood, and iClima.

The UK based company was founded by Will Goodwin, Georgia Stewart and Ben King in 2018. 

The founders all met at Cambridge University where they initially campaigned for greater transparency of the 800-year old institution’s c.£6bn endowment. The result evolved into the fintech startup.

Georgia Stewart, CEO and co-founder of Tumelo, says the company started as a student campaign and now wants to bring “shareholder democracy to the global financial system”. 

“The incredible calibre of institutional and private investors who have committed to our vision and backed our growth is a testament to the strength of our mission, product, culture and execution to date,” she said. 

Since launching Tumelo says it has struck direct relationships with 17 investment platforms and 75 fund managers in the UK.

Erik Mostenicky, vice president at Fidelity International Strategic Ventures, who invested in the round, says the idea is well-timed with current market developments. 

“Active stewardship models are transforming the industry, and large asset managers have a duty to serve as conduits of capital for good stewardship,” said  

“This global trend with regulatory tailwinds is driving change across the retail investment and pension markets; Tumelo is best placed to facilitate such progress,” he added.

The round was led by Treasury, a US-based fintech venture fund run by the co-founders of Betterment, Acorns, and Say Technologies.

Other investors included institutions and assets managers including Legal & General, Fidelity International Strategic Ventures, Nucleus Adventure Capital, Lance Uggla, previous CEO of IHS Markit, and Jim Wiandt, founder of ETF.com. 

Cash from the investment round will be used to build its platform further to enable investors to exercise shareholder rights. It will also support Tumelo’s expansion into the US, Australia and additional market segments, following strong demand.

Jeff Cruttenden, co-founder of Acorns, Say Technologies and Partner at Treasury, says despite an initial focus on the European market, it is now “well-poised to take advantage of the growing focus on ESG and good stewardship within the US”. 

“Broker and 401(K) platforms want to engage and empower their investors, while asset managers and issuers are seeking greater insight on ESG from their own shareholders,“ he added.

Stuart Murphy, Co-Head of Defined Contribution (DC), at Legal & General Investment Management says the direct contribution pension market is moving towards “expression of wish and split or pass-through voting”. 

We see the evolution of the Tumelo offering as an opportunity for L&G to remain at the forefront of the industry working with Tumelo and their partners both in the UK and overseas.”

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