Lightyear expands into social investing

By Daniel Lanyon on Tuesday 8 February 2022

Digital BankingSavings and Investment

Retail investing has boomed in the past two years. Lightyear thinks this new demographic also want to talk, share and get inspiration from each other.

Lightyear expands into social investing
Image source: Martin Sokk & Mihkel Aamer /lightyear

Lightyear, a fintech stock trading app, has launched a new feature allowing users to share their portfolio details, part of a wider plan to bring ‘social investing’ to the UK and Europe.

The company, which launched its platform in September 2021, says its ‘profiles’ feature will embrace the ‘social investing’ theme by allowing each of its customers their own personalised web page. They can share this online with friends and family, showing their portfolio holdings as well as watchlists and recent trades. 

Customers have the option to set their Lightyear profile to either public or private, but by default it’s private. Portfolio balances, transaction amounts and personal details are not shareable.

Social investing is a broad theme but has boomed in the US with the likes of Public and Etoro as well as Robinhood. Its definition is broad and includes active communities such as those on Robinhood to copy trading, a popular feature of Etoro’s whereby users can mimic the buying and selling of assets carried out in real-time by prominent investors.

Retail investing boomed in both 2020 and 2021 owing to the pandemic, and so did investment communities around fintech apps with the number of younger investors, in particular, growing rapidly. 

Nishil Parekh, who heads product at Lightyear, says that the change in retail investor demographics has prompted to the new feature.

 “As a product builder, I spend a huge amount of time with customers to understand how they are approaching investing and what drives them. Something has become very apparent recently: more and more people are talking about investing with their friends. It can be really intimidating to make that first investment, or to even know where to start, and the dialogue between friends is proving to be a catalyst that we wanted to build into the product.”

“Our goal has always been to build a platform that’s cognitively easy to use, has the best customer experience and helps people become the best investors they can be. People are having conversations about investing far more frequently now, and we wanted to give them the tools to be able to structure those discussions, create their own communities and make it easier for them to share,” Martin Sokk (pictured left), CEO and Co-Founder at Lightyear added.

Lightyear was founded by early Wise, formerly Transferwise) alumni Martin Sokk and Mihkel Aamer. Nishil Parekh, Revolut’s former trading lead, is also one of its early employees leading Lightyear’s product development. It is backed by Mosaic Ventures, Taavet+Sten, Metaplanet & early Monzo investor Eileen Burbidge

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