Lightyear closes $8.5M from Mosaic Ventures and launches app to UK market
Tech start-up Lightyear announces today an additional $8.5m of funding alongside the launch of its app as the company starts to onboard UK customers from its waiting list. Lightyear combines multi-currency accounts with unlimited access to global markets so customers can invest freely without hidden fees.
Lightyear is founded by early Wise alumni Martin Sokk and Mihkel Aamer, and pledges to bring a global mindset into the European investment space. Traditionally, if European investors wanted access to international markets they have been hit with a range of various fees such as transaction and custody fees, but most notably foreign exchange fees. After removing the friction of sending money abroad during their time at Wise, the pair are looking to do the same with investing.
The new investment platform seeks to eradicate the ambiguity and unjustifiable fees levied at retail investors. With platforms charging different types of fees at varying points of the customer journey, they leave little clarity around the true cost of an investment. Lightyear is on a mission to flip this pricing model on its head by giving customers the tools to add, hold and invest money in multiple currencies, removing the need for conversions. With unlimited access to more than 1,000 global stocks, Lightyear’s first iteration of the app (its minimum viable product or ‘MVP’) will start onboarding customers from the waitlist starting today.
Earlier this summer, Lightyear announced a $1.5m pre-seed round from a cohort of fintech industry stalwarts, led by Taavet Hinrikus of Wise and Sten Tamkivi of Teleport and Jaan Tallinn (Metaplanet) of Skype. The round also welcomed Ott Kaukver, the CTO at checkout.com, Wander Rutgers, the former President of Robinhood UK and Kaarel Kotkas, the founder of Veriff.
The new $8.5m in funding was led by Mosaic Ventures alongside existing investors Taavet+Sten (the recently formed investment partnership of Taavet Hinrikus and Sten Tamkivi) and Metaplanet. New angel investors coming in this time include early Monzo backer Eileen Burbidge, Harsh Sinha, the CTO at Wise and Taavi Tamkivi, the CEO at Salv.
Simon Levene, Mosaic co-founder and partner says: “Compared to mature markets such as the US, retail investment across Europe is still at the beginning of its growth journey. The customer experience hasn’t really been cracked, and the majority of current offerings serve just their local country. Lightyear’s mission is to offer access to global markets for pan-European investors, providing all the necessary data and education they need — with a simple, transparent business model that removes all the hidden and confusing fee structures. We’re delighted to support co-founders Martin Sokk and Mihkel Aamer, two veteran execs from TransferWise, at the start of their journey to empower retail investors – experienced and new alike – across the continent”