- French startup Shares has raised $40 million in a round led by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures.
- Shares, which was founded in 2021, has developed an app that mixes social networking with investing.
- The company wants to expand beyond the UK to Europe as soon as possible.
A startup that aims to blend investing with social networking has raised $40 million in fresh funds and launched a consumer-facing app.
Paris-based Shares, which was founded last year, enables users to share their trades with friends and family members on the app. The company will initially offer up to 1,500 stocks fee-free for users in the UK as well as offering the ability to buy into US equities.
The startup claims to have a waitlist of around 60,000 already and has now raised $50 million with this latest capital injection coming in a round led by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures alongside Singular and Global Founders Capital.
Benjamin Chemla, the Shares CEO who previously set up last-mile delivery startup Stuart, said growing his fourth business was like playing a game of chess.
“You can move fast if you know what you’re doing,” he said.
Chemla said the challenge for the startup was to build a genuinely social trading platform, rather than just a trading app with a chat function bolted on.
The company has hired 150 people since launching in April 2021. Starting in the UK, Chemla said he planned to rapidly expand to Europe, the US, and eventually Latin America and Asia.
Shares want to combine the functionality of a consumer-investment app with the collective knowledge of online forums, where members can share news and ideas. The difference between Shares’ approach and something like the infamous Reddit blog Wall Street Bets, is that the app will require user verification meaning other users can validate trades while social groups on the app will be limited to around 20 people in a bid to avoid issues like pump and dumps.
Shares will initially make money from an FX interchange fee for users buying US stocks using British pounds and will subsequently move into multi-currency offerings, Chemla said. The company is set to use the funding to hire in new locations around Europe with a target of 250 employees by the end of 2022. In addition to stock trading, the startup also wants to offer users cryptocurrency trading too.
“We want to position ourselves as a global leader in this new category of trading platform,” Chemla said.
Check out Shares’ pitch deck below: