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Richard Branson backs investment app Lightyear in £21m round

Image credit: Lightyear

UK investment app Lightyear has raised $25m (£21m) in a Series A equity funding round that attracted capital from Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson as it launches into 19 European countries.

Founded by former employees of the money transfer service Wise, Lightyear specialises in bringing international investment opportunities to European investors.

By allowing users to have multi-currency accounts, wherein they can add, hold, and invest in different currencies, Lightyear removes some of the international investment fees.

The company says its service has no trading fees, no account fees, and no custody fees.

“Our goal [is to] give all of Europe access to the world’s markets without hidden fees and to make investing easy for everyone,” said Lightyear co-founder and CEO Martin Sokk.

Following the Series A round, Lightyear has announced its European launch, making the service available in 19 additional nations. These include Germany, France, Ireland, Belgium, Netherlands, Finland, Spain, and more.

“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,” Sokk said.

The investment was led by Silicon Valley-based VC Lightspeed, along with Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson. The round also included the return of previous investors Mosaic Ventures, Taavet+Sten, and Metaplanet.

“I’ve seen first-hand the pain points for Europeans trying to access the financial markets as easily as their counterparts in the US,” said Nicole Quinn, a partner at Lightspeed.

“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.”

Lightyear launched in the UK nine months ago, raising £6.1m. Several months prior to that, the company raised £1.5m in a pre-seed funding round.