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Richard Branson-backed Lightyear wants to become Robinhood of Europe, nabs $25M

Lightyear founders
Image credits: Lightyear

London-based investment platform Lightyear has just nabbed $25 million in a Series A equity funding. The investment round was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners (that invested in Wheelocity) alongside Mosaic Ventures, Taavet+Sten and Metaplanet and existing angel investors. Virgin Group joins the investment round. Besides, it received additional backing from British billionaire Richard Branson.

Robinhood of Europe

The funds will be used to support the company’s plans to expand across Europe, starting with 19 countries in the Eurozone. Lightyear has become the first neobroker to unlock most of Europe in one move, coming nine months after its initial launch in the UK last year.

With no trading fees, no account fees and no custody fees, Lightyear is entering most European countries as the most competitively priced investment platform on the market with an advanced product suite and slick app experience. As one of the fastest moving brokerages in Europe, Lightyear also has its sights set on non-Euro countries, including places like Sweden, Norway, Romania, Poland and Hungary.

By expanding in Europe, it wants to be the European challenger to the trading platform Robinhood. From today, Lightyear will be onboarding customers from Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.

Nicole Quinn, Partner at Lightspeed said: “Having lived and worked on both sides of the pond, I’ve seen first-hand the pain points for Europeans trying to access the financial markets as easily as their counterparts in the US. Lightyear is trying to fix this with a platform that customers not only love and trust, but one that understands the nuances between different regulations, languages, exchanges and cultural investing norms. There is no single neobroker offering products across the continent right now, and the potential is enormous. Martin and Mihkel have assembled an all-star team to achieve this goal, and we couldn’t be more excited to support them all on this journey.”

Martin Sokk, Co-founder and CEO at Lightyear, added: “Nine months ago, we launched our app in the UK to initial waitlisters. Fast forward to now, and we’ve secured a European licence that enables us to launch across the continent and raised one of the largest Series A rounds in 2022. But, our goal remains the same: to give all of Europe access to the world’s markets without hidden fees and to make investing easy for everyone. We’re so excited to welcome Nicole and Lightspeed, alongside the Virgin Group, onto our strong bench of investors that share this vision with us and have such deep experience in growing successful businesses from the very start of their journey.”

Investments without hidden fees

Founded by ex-Wise duo Martin Sokk and Mihkel Aamer, Lightyear combines multi-currency accounts with unlimited access to global markets so customers can invest without hidden fees. Traditionally, investors in Europe wanting access to international markets were hit by transaction and custody fees, and hidden foreign exchange fees. With their multi-currency accounts, one can add, hold and invest in different currencies. Lightyear bridges the gap between international markets for customers.

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