London- and Tallinn-based Lightyear, a new commission-free investment platform created by the early minds of Wise (previously Transferwise), has landed around €1.2 million pre-seed funding. The round was led by Taavet Hinrikus (co-founder of Wise) and Sten Tamkivi, (co-founder of Teleport), as well as with Jaan Tallinn (co-founder of Skype). Angel investors such as Ott Kaukver, Wander Rutgers, and Kaarel Kotkas also participated.
Founders Martin Sokk and Mihkel Aamer met back when they were early employees of Wise (previously Transferwise), and from the list of investors in this round seem to have kept some good connections. Created by the duo in 2020, the aim of Lightyear is to reduce the barrier of entry to investing and banish the usual high fees, hidden costs, and complicated nature of investing. Their team is also built up of former Wise, Robinhood, and Revolut employees.
“Having spent my career in financial services, I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly. I believe retail investing in Europe is still very much ‘the ugly’ — we’re talking about sneaky fees, less access and complicated products remaining as the status quo,” said co-founder Mihkel Aamer. “We’re building something that will change that by opening up investing up to everyone, whichever global market they want to invest in and however much they want to invest.”
Lightyear’s product will have zero trading fees, no account fees, and no FX fees up to £3,000 per month (around €3.5K). Past this, a nominal charge of 0.35% will be applied.
“Investing in Europe is a very long way away from where it needs to be. Professional and experienced investors have good options open to them with clear pricing and best-in-class tools, but ordinary investors don’t have that,” said Sokk. “Lightyear is going to be Europe’s first truly commission-free investment platform, and using our experience with transforming how the world approaches currency conversion, our goal is to completely change the name of the game when it comes to investing.”
Lightyear has released a waiting list, with the product to be rolled out sometime in the third quarter of this year.