When Female Invest launched in 2019, it did so with the goal of creating a community where women who wanted to invest in the stock market but didn’t know where to start could gain the knowledge and confidence to take the plunge. Now its users will be able to do it on the Female Invest platform.
The Copenhagen-based startup announced this week that it has acquired Danish fintech company Gaia Investments and plans to integrate a trading platform focused on investments in companies with sustainable development goals into its application. Gaia’s purchase price was not disclosed, but three months before the deal, the startup received a $3 million valuation, TechCrunch Female Invest reported.
For Female Invest co-founder and partner Camilla Falkenberg, adding the ability to invest directly through Female Invest is a great next step for the subscription-based edtech platform.
“From day one, we have always been very focused on building the features and products that our community has been asking for,” Falkenberg said. “And we get requests every day to be able to trade directly through us.”
She added that she believes the platform receives this request so often because its users trust it. A recent customer survey showed that 96% of them would trust Female Invest with their money more than their bank.
Last year, Female Invest spent to build a company to make trading integration easier. Falkenberg said since they raised their $4.5 million seed round last November, they’ve built an app, expanded their tech team, and raised an additional $3 million in funding.
But when they ran into Gaia Investments in July, they realized that it might make more sense and save time for Female Invest to partner with an existing trading platform rather than building their own.
“Gaia has a strong brand here in the Nordics and such a strong focus on ethics and sustainable investing that we are also very interested,” she said. “As the negotiations progressed, it became more and more clear that this was a great move for us.”
The Gaia team thought the same way, Mads Sverre Villumsen, co-founder and CTO, told TechCrunch.
“We knew Female Invest and saw the path they have taken over the last three years,” he said. “After we talked and saw that we had an agreement, the decision was not so difficult.”
The two companies also shared similar founding stories – both sought to create an investment product that they felt was necessary and didn’t exist.
For Female Invest, it was in 2019 when the founders realized that there was no good resource to teach women how to start investing. For Gaia, it was when the mother of co-founder and CEO David Bentzon-Ehlers asked him in 2020 if there was a safe place to invest in sustainable companies, and he realized that the platform she was looking for didn’t exist yet.
While it’s not very common for startups to be acquired at such an early age – Gaia had just completed the TechStars acceleration program a few months earlier – Sverre Villumsen said the deal makes sense for Gaia because they are more interested in expanding the reach of their business. product than being founders of startups.
“I didn’t become a founder to be a founder,” he said. “I did it because it was an opportunity to innovate a lot pretty quickly and change people’s lives.”
Current Gaia users will be offloaded – and their money will be returned in full – in the near future when the platform starts integrating into Female Invest. Falkenberg said they don’t have a specific launch date for Female Invest users yet, but the ability to trade will be launched first in the European Union and then in the UK.
Consolidating early-stage startups has become a growing trend this year, and as the fintech sector battled the uncertainty of 2022, it seems reasonable that some of these smaller companies will merge to avoid being left behind. I’m sure we’ll start seeing more of this headline next year.
However, for Female Invest, the long-term plan, regardless of market conditions, everything falls into place.
“Our vision is to create an extremely user-friendly and easy-to-navigate platform with a focus on sustainability to invest in the values that matter to them,” Falkenberg said. “We have a very loyal user base that is just waiting for us to release the next product, which is a great starting point.”