Richard Branson takes a stake in trading app Lightyear

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The Finch is hoping to become Europe’s answer to Robinhood. Also, Pinterest stock is climbing and Stripe is cutting its internal valuation by almost 30 percent.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 13: Richard Branson poses at Bondi Beach on November 13, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Don Arnold/WireImage)
Don Arnold/WireImage

Good morning! While you slept, work continued elsewhere in the digital scene.

The top topics:

Lightyear, a trading app, has raised $25 million in an investment round backed by British billionaire Richard Branson. The aerospace entrepreneur participated through his Virgin Group at the startup. The company exclusively told CNBC that Silicon Valley-based Lightspeed Venture Partners led the transaction. Lightyear was founded in London last year by Estonian entrepreneurs Martin Sokk and Mihkel Aamer. It offers commission-free trading on 3000+ global stocks and multi-currency accounts.

Lightyear has ambitious expansion plans: the company is currently rolling out its app in 19 European countries, including Germany and France. Next up is to continue expansion across the EU zone and in non-euro countries like Sweden and Norway. According to Nicole Quinn, General Partner at Lightspeed, the deal shows investors’ appetite for a Europe-focused investment app. Still, the cash injection comes at a difficult time for stock markets — Robinhood is currently trading around 78 percent below its IPO price. [Mehr bei CNBC und Techcrunch]

On Gründerszene you read today: Everyone wants ESOP, even if there are still regulatory hurdles that make it difficult to use. It is particularly difficult for freelancers to get employee participation. The lawyer and tax consultant Mirco Zantopp told us how the self-employed can still benefit and what startups have to do for it. [Mehr bei Gründerszene+]

And here are the other headlines of the night:

Die PinterestShares rose more than 20 percent in extended trading on Thursday after the Wall Street Journal reported that Elliott Management had acquired a stake of more than 9 percent in the company. Elliott is known for his activist investing. The Pinterest papers had collapsed by 75 percent in the past year. While revenue grew 52 percent to more than $2.5 billion in 2021, monthly active users worldwide fell 6 percent to 431 million. [Mehr bei Wall Street Journal, The Information und CNBC]

Stripe has lowered the internal valuation of its shares by almost 30 percent. According to The Wall Street Journal, the payments company told employees last week that their shares are now worth $29, up from $40. Stripe isn’t the first high-profile private tech company to downgrade its valuation this year. Stripe’s investor valuation, which reached $95 billion in the last round of funding in 2021, was one of the highest among startups. [Mehr bei Wall Street Journal, The Information und Techcrunch]

The NFT Marketplace Opensea laid off about 20 percent of its workforce. This was announced by CEO Devin Finzer on Thursday. “The reality is that we have entered an unprecedented combination of crypto winter and broad macroeconomic instability and we need to prepare the company for the possibility of a prolonged downturn,” Finzer wrote in a Slack message to employees. Several other crypto companies such as Coinbase, Gemini and Crypto.com have announced layoffs over the past few weeks. [Mehr bei Bloomberg, Techcrunch und The Information]

Amazon-Shoppers bought more than 300 million items during this year’s Prime Day sale. This makes the event the most successful Prime Day in Amazon history. The company said Prime members worldwide bought more than 100,000 items per minute during the two-day event, which took place on Tuesday and Wednesday. The top-selling categories in the US were Amazon-branded consumer electronics, housewares and gadgets. Almost 60 percent of orders were placed for items under $20. [Mehr bei CNBC]

Twitter was affected by a malfunction on Thursday afternoon. As the “Guardian” reported, it was one of the largest failures in years. According to Downdetector.co.uk, which tracks site outages, the short message service went down for 45 minutes worldwide at 12.55pm UK time. Meanwhile, the Securities and Exchange Commission has asked Elon Musk for more information on a tweet related to his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter, which he has since called off. [Mehr bei Guardian, CNBC und Wall Street Journal]

Our reading tip on Gründerszene: Peter Effenberg helps me tinker Transfermedia at a new source of income for struggling streaming platforms: shopping while watching. [Mehr bei Gründerszene]

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Happy Friday!

Your Gründerszene editors

Source: https://www.businessinsider.de/gruenderszene/business/richard-branson-beteiligt-sich-an-trading-app-lightyear/

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