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Exclusive: London’s new fintech ikigai to launch crowdfunding mid-April

ikigai-team

Ikigai, a new banking and wealth management fintech from London is hoping to help their customers get wealthier when they launch their latest crowdfunding round next month.

UKTN has learnt from the founders, Ikigai will be crowdfunding through Crowdcube. There will be pre-registration – which is now live and allows investors to register their initial interest and gain early access to the private funding round. The private funding round, which is invite-only, goes live in mid-April.

Started by former McKinsey and Company consultants Maurizio Kaiser and Edgar de Picciotto, the fintech is uniquely positioned as a combined online banking and wealth management tool. Aimed at mass affluent and future affluent individuals, Ikigai offers access to banking, savings and investment in their app for a flat monthly fee. The app reflects the Japanese concept of Ikigai, or life purpose, by simplifying banking and investment to help customers more easily achieve their life goals.

A unique offer for clients

Ikigai’s target market are 20- and 30-somethings who are starting to establish themselves. The idea for Ikigai started at the end of 2018 when Kaiser and de Picciotto started thinking about the services they would want. The founders identified that there was a gap between the basic services offered by challenger banks and the services offered to high net-worth individuals.

Working in the fintech sector prompted them to ask themselves what sort of service they would like to see. “We just kept thinking and thinking about what a better service would look like. The service the two of us would like to use,” Kaiser explained. The result was Ikigai, bringing together the Everyday bank account, Nest savings account, and Wealth features on a single platform.

De Picciotto added, “the app brings banking and wealth management together. So, we help them save more money and also start their investment journey.”

A user-first experience

Ikigai’s focus is on the user experience. They have, therefore, partnered with Railsbank, WealthKennel and BlackRock to provide the financial services. Ikigai’s service itself pulls everything together in a single app, currently iOS-only and launching on Android soon, that focuses on ease of use.

Clients will benefit from a personal relationship manager who is available to help with their money needs. One of the first offers a new customer will get is a discussion with an advisor on how to make the most of their money. Meanwhile, the app itself will guide users through the process of deciding which of the five diversified portfolios BlackRock manage is the best for them.

The whole experience makes it easy for those who are at a stage in their lives and careers that they are starting to think about investing for the future.

Rapid pre-launch growth

After securing £2 million in pre-seed funding last year, the company formally launched earlier this month. However, the service had been running since February, given Ikigai the chance to test their systems and model. Early results showed that Ikigai was filling a niche with significant demand. The company saw 30% week-on-week customer growth, with 85% of customers remaining on board, giving them a significant user base before the official launch.

Building their customer’s wealth

Having successfully built their platform Kaiser and di Picciotto are now looking at how to expand further and are keen to create an opportunity for their customers. Instead of a traditional funding round they are planning to raise £1.2 million from the Ikigai community using Crowdcube.

The funding will be used to extend the functionality and reach of the platform. Having already got the core, high-demand functions in place, the next steps will be to add more features, especially those that help customers with ‘financial self-care’, making sure their money is working as hard for them as it can.

Although the choice to raise funds from customers might be unusual, it makes perfect sense to the founders, and inviting customers to invest was a logical step to take. Kaiser said, “we really wanted the community to be able to participate in our growth be part of the journey. Our aim is to help people grow their money and this is another way for people to kind of participate in that vision.” Existing customers had responded well, and there was already strong demand.

Ikigai’s Crowdcube funding round will be launched in mid-April. Kaiser and de Picciotto both see it as integral to Ikigai’s future, not just because it was funding their growth, but as part of building an Ikigai community. Kaiser told us, “we want people to be involved in shaping our product roadmap. We believe that crowdfunding is a great way to build that community.”