Richard Branson backs Lightyear as UK stock trading platform launches into Europe – Nob6

Lightyear, a U.Ok. fintech startup that guarantees customers commission-free buying and selling on U.S. and European shares, is formally extending into Europe from as we speak.

To energy the growth, which can see Lightyear land in 19 new markets, together with the Baltics and far of Western Europe, London-based Lightyear has additionally raised $25 million in a Seres A spherical of funding led by U.S. enterprise capital agency Lightspeed, with participation from different notable backers including Virgin Group, which counts Richard Branson as its sole shareholder. 

Buying and selling shares

Lightyear is one in all a number of burgeoning inventory buying and selling corporations to emerge on the scene, promising a simple inroad for most of the people to take a position their cash in a number of the world’s greatest corporations, from Apple and Alibaba, to Spotify and Tesla. On prime of that, customers can put money into what are generally known as alternate traded funds (ETFs), that are primarily funding funds.

Launching out of stealth initially within the U.Ok. final yr, Lightyear has entered an area that features native incumbents such because the well-funded Freetrade, to not point out long-established gamers on the opposite aspect of the Atlantic comparable to Robinhood, which canned its U.Ok. launch plans again in 2020.

Lightyear touts its huge USP as being its enterprise mannequin, insofar because it doesn’t cost account charges or commissions on any trades. As a substitute, it depends purely on international alternate charges — however even then, it solely expenses 0.35% on conversions exceeding £3,000 ($3,500) monthly. However as soon as a consumer has transformed, they then maintain their cash in a neighborhood forex account from which they proceed to commerce with out incurring any additional charges on every commerce that they make.

In some ways, that is just like how different fintechs comparable to Sensible (previously TransferWise) work, permitting customers to obtain and pay cash in a number of currencies with out incurring exorbitant  charges. And this similarity is greater than a coincidence, on condition that Lightyear is the handiwork of early Sensible staff Martin Sokk and Mihkel Aamer, whereas Sensible co-founder Taavet Hinrikus can also be a Lightyear investor. 

Lightyear founders. Picture Credit: Tom Harrison

A number of Lightyears

Issues might get a tiny bit complicated given the multitude of startups which have launched lately with the very same title. There’s one other U.Ok.-based fintech called Lightyear, although it’s centered on bookkeeping, whereas the closely VC-backed Dutch startup called Lightyear is all about electrical vehicles. And let’s not neglect about New York-based Lightyear, a telecom service procurement service.

However that fascinating quirk apart, Lightyear (the inventory buying and selling one) possible has enough differentiators to face out in what’s a crowded area, with the promise of simplicity and transparency at its core. And fewer than a yr after first launching to early U.Ok. customers, it has now ramped up its potential consumer base by an order of magnitude.

Lightyear’s growth consists of the next markets: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Eire, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.

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