“We can’t deliver what we are delivering without incredible tech” – Sharesies Co-founder, Director and CEO, Leighton Roberts took part in a fireside chat with NZX Head of Issuer Relationships, Sarah Minhinnick during Tech Pulse 2020. They discussed in-depth the core themes of Sharesies as a tech business, their role in the rapid rise of retail investing and their own experiences as a tech start-up in need of capital and helping other tech businesses grow.
“We can’t deliver what we are delivering without incredible tech.”Leighton Roberts - Co-founder, Director and CEO, SharesiesReaching 250,000 customers in just over three and a half years, Leighton’s vast experience in a startup Fintech company provided valuable insight into how the company has evolved to provide financial access to people who were previously left out. “We wanted someone with $5 to have the same investment opportunities as someone with $500,000.” This strength of mission and purpose, alongside becoming a certified B Corporation, permeates throughout the business and is a clear motivation.
As a Fintech business, Leighton was keen to highlight the responsibilities that coincide with dealing with other people’s finances, as well as being a key provider of financial information to its customers – “We have to know what we are talking about and make sure that we are doing right by our customers”. A key lesson.
From the perspective of helping publicly listed companies raise capital on NZX, Sarah Minhinnick was keen to understand Sharesies’ own experiences as a private company. “We’ve always undertaken reasonably aggressive capital raising to stay well-funded” says Leighton. Across four rounds of raising via high-net worth individuals and angel investors, these avenues of funding have also helped open doors to strategic support.
Discussing perspectives in the market in 2020, Sharesies have witnessed an increase in investor appetite, with Leighton highlighting how the equity raised on NZX has provided new opportunities to investors on the platform. From the perspective of the Issuers, he adds - “Equity is a great way of raising capital and can be simpler than private rounds.” As of the end of October, $13.8 billion has been raised on NZX, including over $4.5 billion in equity.
Despite Sharesies’ focus on their own customers, Leighton concludes by sharing how Sharesies have been able to help other businesses as part of a wider tech ecosystem. “We have a lot of conversations with other tech companies and try to help them by sharing our experiences.” Democratising the space into the future will continue to form part of Sharesies’ mission into the future.
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