Richard Branson has thrown his weight behind London fintech firm Lightyear today in a $25m funding round that has fuelled the firm’s expansion into Europe.
Lightyear, which provides multi-currency accounts and allows users to invest in global markets, said that as of today it was now operational across 19 new countries including Spain, German, Italy and Portugal.
Branson’s Virgin Group was among a group of investors to back the Series A round, led by US venture outfit Lightspeed Venture Partners with backing from the firm’s seed investors, Mosaic Ventures, Taavet+Sten and Metaplanet.
Co-founder Martin Sokk said the firm was now looking to use the funds to roll out the app to the whole continent.
“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,” he said in a statement.
“But, our goal remains the same: to give all of Europe access to the world’s markets without hidden fees and to make investing easy for everyone.”
Launched by Wise alumni Sokk and Mihkel Aamer nine months ago, the firm looks to allow European investors to tap into global markets without transaction, custody fees and hidden foreign exchange fees.
Branson said today the firm was simplifying access to “overly complex” financial markets.
“Martin, Mihkel and the Lightyear team are lifting the lid on the world of investing – making it more transparent whilst empowering people through education – to choose the products which are right for them,” he said.
The funding marks one of the biggest Series A rounds in recent months as venture capital dries up globally amidst rising interest rates a looming recessions.
Venture funding in the UK fell to $7.1bn across 478 deals between April and June, down from an all time high of $9bn in the first three months of the year as a global tech downturn that has rocked listed tech firms hit the private markets, according to a report from analytics firm CB Insights.