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March 3, 2022
Its social investment platform has just been launched in the United Kingdom. The French FinTech Shares raises 35.8 million euros in order to obtain the authorization required to operate within the European Union. An essential step in its strategy aimed at establishing itself within three years as one of the world players in this expanding market.
The tech ecosystem has already given us a number of examples of startups raising funds several times a year. The list is growing this Thursday, March 3, 2022 with the announcement by Shares of a series A up to 35.8 million euros, only five months after a good start of 8.5 million euros. Co-created by Benjamin Chemla, founder of on-demand delivery expert Stuart – which was acquired by La Poste in 2017 – the FinTech has received financial support from Valar Ventures, Singular and Global Founders Capital. Enough to help it launch its social investment platform across Europe "by the end of 2022". “We made room for Valar Ventures in our first round, with a view to allowing them to lead the second. It's the best investor in the world when it comes to FinTech,” explains Maddyness Benjamin Chemla, who points out that the fund, created by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, has supported unicorns such as the German N26, the Austrian BitPanda… but also Qonto, its only other participation in France.
It was first to keep busy during the confinement decreed during the first wave of Covid-19 that Benjamin Chemla, who lived in the United States, began to use trading applications. "After realizing that friends were doing it too, I sent them screenshots to share my operations," says the manager, who then consulted discussions on social platforms Reddit and Discord in order to "capture signals social" allowing him to refine his investment decisions. It was by noting the absence of a tool "both social and regulated" in this market that he decided to devote his new entrepreneurial adventure to it, which he had been thinking about for a long time, since his return to France. end of 2020 exactly. “Everyone is rushing into trading. We aim to allow the population to approach the subject in a concerted way, points out Benjamin Chemla, as opposed to the disorder that sometimes reigns on traditional social networks. You have to get started by testing the waters, as you would when buying your first apartment. »
Shares puts the financial transaction at the heart of its platform, which is primarily social. “Carrying out an operation becomes an event, which can be shared with different lists of individuals. We can just as easily disseminate the information to close friends as keep it confidential,” explains Benjamin Chemla. Depending on the option chosen, the other users of the group – limited to 20 members to avoid sowing discord by letting false information proliferate – can react through comments, reactions or images. "It is also possible to create lists common to several users to monitor investment opportunities on specific assets", points out the manager, who claims to go "further than the flagship trading application, Robinhood", in the United States. United. Among Shares' direct competitors is, according to the leader, the American unicorn Public.com – which has won over a million users in the space of 18 months by also betting on the social aspect, without however "being as centered on loved ones" than the Frenchwoman.
The FinTech, which therefore emphasizes collaboration, claims that it does not provide investment advice to its users. “However, we have put safeguards in place. As a regulated tool, we notably check the identity of people who wish to register”, argues Benjamin Chemla. And to outbid: “Notifications warn the user of the risks undertaken and encourage him to diversify his portfolio, while a blocker prevents him from investing all of his savings from the second day of use, for example . “Shares also has dozens of employees in its support department, whose work consists in particular in ensuring that the appearance of “problematic behaviors” on the application is limited to thus create “a safe environment”.
What will Series A be used for?
Shares is taking advantage of the announcement of its series A to open its application to the general public in the United Kingdom this Thursday, March 3. In recent months, the FinTech had already allowed some 60,000 users on the waiting list to use the service across the Channel. “Launching on the main European market in terms of trading was logical, says Benjamin Chemla, specifying that the startup offers a free service and charges 0.4% of the conversion costs between the accepted currencies. What's more, we underline our international DNA. Shares has, in fact, displayed from its inception its desire to position itself as a major player on a global scale. "That's why we poached great talent from the start, from Revolut, Bumble or Netflix," boasts the leader, who also brought in heavyweights from Stuart. The young shoot now has 130 employees, divided between its offices in Paris, London and Krakow.
And it does not intend to stop there, planning to double its workforce by the end of 2022. One of its other priority projects: obtaining approval allowing it to operate in the European Union, with authorities of one of the Member States. "When a European regulator gives the green light, all you have to do is apply for a passport to be able to market in other countries", recalls Benjamin Chemla, stressing that Shares will "adjust" its product according to the constraints of each market – language, marketing, etc First launches in continental Europe, including France, are expected “by this summer”. Three additional offices, in Germany, Spain and Sweden, should make it possible to network the Old Continent. The other axis of development of Shares will revolve around its product, which will integrate more types of investment – European stocks and cryptocurrencies, while around 2,000 American securities are already offered.