When Female Invest launched in 2019, it did so with the goal of creating a community where women who want to invest in the stock market but aren’t sure where to start can gain the knowledge and confidence to take the plunge. Its users will now be able to do this within the Female Invest platform.
The Copenhagen-based startup announced the acquisition of fellow Danish fintech company 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 was valued at $3 million three months before the transaction, Female Invest told TechCrunch.
For Female Invest co-founder and partner Camila Falkenberg, adding the ability to directly invest through Female Invest is a great next step for the subscription edtech platform.
“From day one, we’ve always been very focused on building the features and products that have been requested by our community,” said Falkenberg. “And we get requests every day about being able to trade directly through us.”
She added that she thinks the platform gets this request so often because its users trust it. A recent customer survey found that 96% of them would trust Female Invest with their money more than their bank.
Female Invest has spent the last year building the company in a way to more easily integrate trading. Falkenberg said that since raising 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 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 instead of building their own.
“Gaia has a strong brand here in the Nordics and such a strong focus on ethics and sustainable investing, something we’re also very interested in,” she said. “As the conversations progressed, it became more and more clear that this was a great move for us.”
The Gaia team felt the same way, Mads Sverre Willumsen, co-founder and CTO, told TechCrunch.
“We’ve known Female Invest and seen the journey they’ve been on over the last three years,” he said. “Once we talked and saw that we had a fit, the decision wasn’t that difficult.”
The two companies also share similar founding stories — both sought to create an investment product they believed was needed 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 Benzon-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 so early in life — Gaia had just graduated from a TechStars accelerator program a few months earlier — Sverre Willumsen said the deal made sense for Gaia because they were more interested in expanding the reach of their product than being founders of a start-up business.
“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 make a lot of innovation and change for people pretty quickly.”
Current Gaia users will be offloaded – with their money refunded in full – in the near future when the platform begins to integrate with Female Invest. Falkenberg said from there that they don’t yet have a specific launch date for Female Invest users, but that the trading capability will launch first in the European Union and then in the UK.
Consolidation of early-stage startups has been a growing trend this year, and as the fintech sector struggles with uncertainty in 2022, it seems prudent for some of these smaller companies to band together to avoid being left behind. I’m sure we’ll start seeing more of that in the coming year.
For Female Invest, however, the long-term plan, regardless of market conditions, is coming true.
“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 to release the next product, which is a great starting point.”