When Female investment launched in 2019, it did so with the aim of creating a community where women who wanted to invest in the stock market but weren’t sure where to start could gain the knowledge and confidence to take the plunge. Now the users can do all this within the Female Invest platform.
The Copenhagen-based startup announced the acquisition of fellow Danish fintech Gaia Investments this week with plans to integrate the trading platform, which focuses on investing in companies with sustainability goals, into its app. Gaia’s purchase price was not disclosed, but the startup raised a $3 million valuation three months prior to the transaction, Female Invest told gotechbusiness.com.
For Camilla Falkenberg, co-founder and partner of Female Invest, adding the ability to invest directly through Female Invest is a great next step for the edtech subscription platform.
“Since day one, we’ve always been very focused on building the features and products our community has been asking for,” said Falkenberg. “And we get requests every day for the ability to trade directly through us.”
She added that she thinks the platform gets that request so often because its users trust it. A recent customer survey showed that 96% of them would trust Female Invest more with their money than with their bank.
Female Invest has spent the past year building the business in a way to integrate trading more easily. Falkenberg said that since they raised their $4.5 million seed round last November, they’ve built an app, expanded their tech team and raised another $3 million in funding.
But when they came across Gaia Investments in July, they realized it might make more sense, and save time, for Female Invest to partner with an existing trading platform rather than build their own.
“Gaia has a strong brand here in Scandinavia and such a strong focus on ethics and sustainable investing, which is something we are very interested in as well,” she said. “As the talks progressed, it became increasingly clear that it was a great move for us.”
The team at Gaia felt the same way, Mads Sverre Willumsen, a co-founder and CTO, told gotechbusiness.com.
“We knew Female Invest and saw the journey they had been on for the past three years,” he said. “After we talked and saw that we were on the same page, the decision wasn’t that hard.”
The two companies also shared similar founding stories – both trying to create an investment product they felt was needed and didn’t exist.
For Female Invest, the founders realized in 2019 that there was no good resource that taught 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 his realization that the platform she was looking for did not yet exist.
While it’s not very common for startups to be acquired this early in life — Gaia had just completed a TechStars accelerator program a few months earlier — Sverre Willumsen said the transaction made sense for Gaia as they were more interested in expanding their reach of their product than startup founders are.
“I didn’t become a founder in the first place to be a founder,” he said. “I did it because it was an opportunity to do a lot of innovation very quickly and make a difference to people.”
Current Gaia users will be relieved in the near future – with their full refund – when the platform begins to integrate into Female Invest. Falkenberg said from there that they don’t yet have a specific launch date for Female Invest users, but that the ability to trade will launch first in the European Union and then in the UK.
Consolidation of early-stage startups is an emerging trend this year, and as the fintech sector struggles in the uncertainty of 2022, it seems prudent for some of these smaller companies to band together to avoid falling behind. I’m sure we’ll see more of this next year.
For Female Invest, regardless of market conditions, the long-term plan all 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,” said Falkenberg. “We have a very loyal user base that is just waiting for us to launch the next product, which is a good starting point.”