Peter Thiel-backed investing app secures £33 million funding round

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Shares co-founder Benjamin Chemla (Shares)

A London-based investing app backed by a fund owned by billionaire investor Peter Thiel has raised £33 million to attract women and young people into stock market investing.

The Shares app promises to create a community of investors with built-in social media features to encourage friends and family to share investment decisions with each other.

Since its launch in May the app has attracted 150,000 users and was the second-most downloaded financial application on Apple’s App Store.

Two-thirds of those who have joined are below the age of 25, while 26% are millennials between the age of 26 and 41.

Shares CEO co-founder and Benjamin Chemla told the Standard: “The surprise we got is the number of women joining the application — 7% of retail investors are women but about 40% of our investors are women.

“We’ve got a quite young audience of students and professionals.”

The interest in the investing app comes despite months of plummeting share prices for a number of high-growth companies, with tech stocks having haemorrhaged a combined $3 trillion in value since the start of the year, as soaring inflation, war in Ukraine and fears of a looming recession erased the strong gains made in 2021.

“Company valuations went down so bad, a lot of people are seeing the current situation as an opportunity to get in,” Chemla said.

The Shares co-founder said the funding would be used to support European expansion, with plans to launch the app in 32 different markets by the end of 2022.

The funding round was led by Peter Thiel-owned Valar Ventures, which has also invested in fintech giants Wise and Xero, and brings the total funding raised to £75 million. Shares did not confirm the valuation of the company following the funding round.

Valar Ventures partner James Fitzgerald said: “The UK launch was a great achievement and we can’t wait to see Shares growing throughout Europe.

“This was an opportunity for us to invest in an innovative social trading company that challenges the status quo of traditional retail investing.”