Today, European investment platform Lightyear announces a new product update with a huge range of instruments from UK and European exchanges, as well as global Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) going live in one month’s time.
Lightyear was founded by ex-Wise duo Martin Sokk and Mihkel Aamer to bring a global mindset to the European investment world. Customers around Europe traditionally have not had good access to investment opportunities outside their home country. With the exception of access to the US markets, connections between Europe’s most popular exchanges has been limited and costly. Today’s announcement signals a step change for retail investors in Europe to be able to invest in companies they care about and build a global portfolio with little-to-no fees.
The new instruments feature stocks listed on exchanges all over Europe including the London Stock Exchange, Euronext and the DAX. Some of the UK’s household names like Tesco, Lloyds and Unilever are included in the first launch of UK stocks, alongside some popular European stocks such as L’Oreal, Heineken and Société Générale.
The rollout of Exchange Traded Funds marks the company’s expansion into fund-based products. An ETF is a collection of hundreds or thousands of stocks or bonds, which is managed by experts in a single fund that trades on major stock exchanges, like the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ. They are widely considered a great way to diversify a portfolio and a good entry point for newer investors, combining the benefits of diversified mutual funds with real-time pricing, but without high barriers to entry or minimum investment amounts.
Lightyear recently raised a $25M Series A equity round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and Sir Richard Branson to power its expansion into 19 new European countries. The company’s seed investors, Mosaic Ventures, Taavet+Sten and Metaplanet also took part in the round alongside a number of new and existing angel investors.
The fresh $25 million in funding supports the company’s expansion across Europe. Starting with 19 countries in the Eurozone alongside the UK, Lightyear became the first neobroker to unlock most of Europe in one move. With no trading fees, no account fees and no custody fees, Lightyear entered most European countries as the most competitively priced investment platform on the market. The only fee on Lightyear is a simple, flat 0.35% fee for currency conversion.
Martin Sokk, Co-founder and CEO at Lightyear, adds: “One of our primary missions has always been to offer the people of Europe a low cost way to build a global portfolio. Rolling out this new range of international and local stocks, alongside ETFs, is a very big step towards that. We’ve been launching new markets and product features at an incredible speed, having been live for just 12 months and already operating in 20 markets. We couldn’t be happier to bring our customers even more opportunities to build diversified portfolios on Lightyear, consisting of companies closest to their hearts, that they use in their everyday, as well as fund-based instruments.”