Paris-based pockets €8.5m in Valar Ventures-led round to launch social and investing app

Paris-based social investment platform has closed one of the largest-ever seed fundraising by an early-stage startup in Europe by securing around €8.5m in pre-seed pre-product funding. 

The VC backers include Singular and Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, an early investor in FinTech Unicorns N26, Wise, and Bitpanda. André Mohamed, Co-Founder of Freetrade, Didier Vallet, ex-Deputy CEO of Société Générale, Chris Adelbach, Managing Partner of Outrun Ventures & UKBAA Angel Investor of the Year, and Ryan McKillen, Founding Team of Uber are current business advisors.

Shares will use its recent fundraise to continue to scale at pace on a mission to empower users with tools that open doors to first-time investors and increase financial inclusion as well as boost its UK and European expansion plans.

The company has invited subscribers to join the waitlist for the planned UK launch of the Shares app this autumn. Also, it anticipates a wider rollout across Europe in early 2022. Its Shares app will be available on both Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

Founded in 2021, Shares is a consumer mobile app and social-first platform for retail investors, designed from the ground up with user experience and community in mind, giving no-minimum, no-fee access to 1,500 stocks.

Led by CEO & Co-Founder Benjamin Chemla, serial entrepreneur with a track record that includes co-founding Stuart in 2015. Six years later, Stuart is the European leader in last-mile logistics, continues its rapid growth trajectory and employs more than 600 people.

Shares combines the functionality of a consumer investment app with the wisdom of online forums, where members can buy stocks, react to the market in real-time, start conversations with friends and access curated expert advice in one place. In addition to the Invest platform, Shares enables community and private Chat to network, learn, track friends and grow individual portfolios (as well as make Group stock indexes with Friends) from the app. Additionally, Shares’ curated market intelligence feed, Spotlight, allows Shares members to build their financial awareness and educate themselves about investing, the biggest industry trends and offer supportive guides on tax, regulation and compliance.

Chemla said, “Building Shares wouldn’t have been possible without the seasoned team of scaleup experts we’ve assembled across the business to achieve this product, in record time, without sacrificing quality. There is still untapped market opportunity in this high-growth fintech space and Shares is uniquely positioned as Europe’s first social and investing app to fast become a leader in the industry.”

The firm boasts of a fast-growing team of 35, representing 10 nationalities based across three offices in Paris, London and Krakow so far. Talent has been drawn from leading scaleups including Revolut, Stuart, Bumble, and FreeNow to build the one-of-a-kind Shares app.

Valar Ventures founding partner and VC supporter of Shares James Fitzgerald said, “Valar invested in the team at Shares with confidence in their ability to overcome the technical challenges and execute the project in a matter of months to get to market. Congratulations to Shares for executing the launch of Europe’s first social-focused investing app – a feat of engineering, finance and regulatory know-how.”

Stock trading has been moving to mobile and a few tech companies have been working on well-designed trading platforms to appeal to a new set of users. That shift is well underway in the US as Robinhood has managed to attract tens of millions of users.

In Europe, it’s been a different story as the European market is still fragmented with a handful of stock-trading apps slowly expanding to new markets. Those companies include Freetrade, Trade Republic, Bitpanda and, to a certain degree, Revolut.

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