Getting through turbulent times these days by simply saving up money is not really a practical solution. Almost everyone who earns knows how important it is to invest and multiply their wealth over time, in order to beat inflation and lead a financially secure life. The COVID-19 pandemic, among other things, served as a harsh reminder for people to invest and be prepared for uncertainties.
London-based mobile-first investing platform Wombat is the UK’s first thematic and curated fractional investment platform. Drawing upon the philosophy of one of the most successful investors of our time, Warren Buffet, the company enables its users to invest in household brands such as Apple, Tesla, Ocado, and Netflix, among others. The startup has now announced raising a whopping £2 million investment in its seed funding round.
Three-pronged approach for utilising new funds
The latest seed funding round of £2 million for Wombat was led by Fuel Ventures, which now joins the company’s board. Wombat also receives continued support from its angel investors, Chris Adelsbach, a key investor in Atom Bank and Monese, James Moore, Trainline’s former UK General Manager, alongside other prominent angels in the industry. In a conversion with UKTN, Wombat’s founder, Kane Harrison, reveals more about the company’s future plans.
Harrison notes that Wombat will be utilising the freshly acquired funds to focus on its product, expand its team and double-down on marketing. In terms of product, Harrison says, “We are continuously looking at ways to invest in improving our offering and have recently added new features, such as instant deposits, to improve the ways which we can help people save for the future. We plan to expand our product with an exciting 2021 roadmap ahead of us, with key launches such as a referral programme and pensions as well as adding to our themes and shares portfolio.”
Recently, the company hired a Head of Marketing and two Growth Marketing Managers to drive growth across a key period. Wombat is also currently on the lookout for a Senior Android developer to join its internal team. As for marketing development, Harrison notes that 40% of its referrals are already organic, “We know people are talking about us and recommending us to their family and friends. A ramp up in marketing to further deepen our market presence whilst people continue spreading the word,” he says.
Everyday brands, now within reach
Founded in 2017, Wombat is a thematic and curated fractional investment platform. It enables its users to invest in large companies, owning whose complete stock could cost a small fortune. Household brands such as Netflix, Tesla and Apple are some examples of shares that one can fractionally invest in via the app. Talking about how Wombat is unique, Harrison relays, “Whilst there are a number of market incumbents deemed to be Wombat’s competition, we do not consider these platforms as direct competitors since what we offer is unique to the market.”
“We provide easy access to the world of investment and have designed our app to make investing easy, low-cost and with a clear focus on making investing a drip-feed approach for novice investors,” he adds.
Wombat’s approach is the same as that of Warren Buffet, which is to invest in companies and brands one knows, uses and understands. Alongside offering an opportunity for people to invest in brands they are interested in, it also offers curated themes that are picked specifically for the company’s target demographic and are said to match people’s lifestyles and interests .
“We encourage users to make better financial decisions through automated investing and round ups to create good financial habits. There’s also an option for users to try out the feature with just £10 a month through seamless investing and see for themselves just how better financial decisions can work for them with passive returns over longer periods of time,” Harrison comments on how the app can help Improve financial habits for the long term.
The COVID crisis
The coronavirus pandemic affected different sectors in unique ways. So, where does a fintech app that offers thematic and curated fractional investment stand? While Brexit has not affected the company’s business, as per Harrison, COVID pushed consumers to find Wombat and make better financial decisions via the app.
“Wombat was born from a fully collaborative remote team, all with the passion to make Kane’s vision a reality. COVID meant people spending less on consumables and spending more time at home looking for additional ways to use their disposable income. People were investing in big brands they believe in, and taking the time to improve their investment knowledge and make their money work smarter is exactly what they’re looking for,” says Harrison.
Raising funds during the pandemic is turning out to be a unique experience for companies. Multiple companies scored good funding, even while being remote. The same held true for Wombat as well. Commenting on this, Harrison says, “Wombat had a successful Seed funding round despite the market environment. This is due to the strong relationships we have built with VC’s over the last 18 months, and follow-on investments from our prominent angels. Lifestyle investing is the next big thing in consumer fintech and therefore has been backed regardless of the current economic environment.”
Wombat is also nominated for this year’s British Bank Awards in recognition of the innovation it is bringing to shares investing.