Gumtree Co-founder opens crowdfund for latest venture and raises more than double the target

InvestEngine, the low-cost investment platform set up by Gumtree Co-founder Simon Crookall, recently opened a £700,000 crowdfund but has already raised nearly £1.6m.

Set up in 2019 with co-founder Andrey Dobrynin, InvestEngine is looking to grow and capitalise on the wave of ETF popularity, as savers look to park their pandemic savings in places where they have the chance to outpace rising inflation.

The team behind InvestEngine is made up of ex-BlackRock, HSBC, L&G, FNZ, Investec, Plum and Nutmeg employees, and is led by Gumtree Co-founder Simon Crookall and his Co-founder Chief Executive Andrey Dobrynin. Crookall scaled and sold Gumtree to eBay in 2005 and the duo repeated the feat with Eastern European classifieds company Slando to global internet group, Naspers, in 2011.

Given the pair made buying and selling online more simple and accessible via Gumtree and Slando, they are now looking to do the same with investing.

InvestEngine charges nothing for its DIY portfolios, offering commission-free ETF investing on hundreds of ETFs from the likes of Vanguard and iShares for individuals and small businesses. They also offer professionally managed portfolios for just 0.25 percent a year (plus fund costs), making it one of the best value platforms on the market.

The platform offers ISAs, personal, or business accounts with options for different investor risk profiles.

All portfolios are comprised of exchange-traded funds (ETFs), low-cost vehicles through which investors can access 100s or 1000s of companies across regions and sectors. ETFs also enable investors to invest ‘thematically’ in particular sectors such as clean energy, property, blockchain, and crypto.

Global ETF assets reached $10 trillion in 2021, and are predicted to grow 17 percent every year, reaching $20 trillion by 2026.

The crowdfund, from European platform Crowdcube, launches as UK inflation rises above six percent, meaning people looking for their savings to keep pace need to carefully consider their approach.

Looking back over the last 10 years, leaving £10,000 in a bank account would have returned just £10,394, whereas the same amount invested in a globally diversified portfolio would have seen that initial investment grow to £33,198.

InvestEngine Co-founder Andrey Dobrynin said: “Investors want an accessible app-based service with user-friendly features at the lowest possible cost. This is what we have created with InvestEngine.

“Making investing easier remains an ongoing challenge but ETFs, with their simplicity, low costs and diversification are ideal building blocks for investors wanting to put together a long-term portfolio.

“The upside potential of the European ETF market is particularly noteworthy as only 15 percent of retail investors have invested into ETFs, compared to 40 percent of their US counterparts.

“With the funds from our crowdfunding campaign, we intend to invest heavily in further developing our platform, expanding our team across various key functions, and significantly accelerating our marketing spend across key channels so we can get the word out”.

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