Investment App Public.com Raises $15 Million From Some Big Names
In less a year’s time, the face of investing has changed dramatically. Between Charles Schwab first cutting its trade fees to $0 (a move that was later matched by several other discount brokerages) and then announcing an acquisition of TD Ameritrade, things are certainly looking different than they once did. Now Public.com is looking to further shake things up — and it managed to make an impact this week, announcing an impressive fundraising round.
This week Public.com revealed that it has just raised $15 million. Previous investors Accel and Greycroft co-led the Series B, joined by a splashier list of contributors. This includes the Dreamers VC (founded by actor Will Smith and soccer star Keisuke Honda), Houston Texans player J.J. Watt, Girlboss founder and CEO Sophia Amoruso, and many more. Meanwhile entrepreneur and popular vlogger Casey Neistat joined the company’s advisory board along with former Venmo COO Michael Vaughan.
Described as a social investing app, Public.com not only offers the ability to purchase fractional shares of stock but also allows users to follow friends and others to see what they’re investing in. This, the company says, helps promote financial literacy. As a blog post penned the company’s co-CEO Leif Abraham explains, “We believe that creating a transparent community where people feel empowered to share why they invest, and to have open conversations about why others invest, is one of the most effective ways to promote financial literacy.”
Elsewhere in that post, Abraham said of his firm, “We believe a significant reason why many people do not invest is due to a lack of financial literacy, expensive financial products, and soaring share prices that can require people to invest $500 or more to purchase a single share of popular, high-performing stocks.” He added, “Public.com was created to address these very factors and unlock greater access by adding a social layer to the stock market and pioneering real-time fractional investing.”
Funny enough, at the time when Public.com announced their funding round on Medium, the popular investment app Robinhood was experiencing a massive outage. That interruption lasted throughout a trading day that saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average climb more than 5% and reemerged in the early hours on Tuesday before finally being resolved. The FinTech firm has since attributed the downtime to an excessive volume of traffic including a record number of account sign-ups.
At this point, free stock trading apps are nothing new nor are fractional shares. Nevertheless Public.com’s twist on the concept could easily help it stand out. Moreover its somewhat unique approach of bringing celebrities and other influences on board along with the typical VC firms is an inspired idea that fits the app well. Now if it could only do something about the name…