U.K.-based stock-trading startup Lightyear is finally expanding to the web, nearly two years after the company first emerged out of stealth.
Founded out of London in 2020, Lightyear is one of a number of fintechs that promise an easy conduit for the general public to invest their money in some of the world’s biggest companies. But while mobile may be the preeminent internet device for most people these days, people still like the option to peruse their investments on a larger-screened device such as a laptop — and that is what Lightyear is now offering.
The company said that a web-based interface has been its “most highly requested feature” since its launch in 2021, and today sees it follow in the footsteps of others in the space such as European rival Freetrade, which landed on the web exactly a year ago, though that remains in beta and available to premium subscribers only for now. Another European neobroker called Bux is also working on a web app, though there is no indication when that might launch. Across the water in the U.S., Robinhood brought its web version to market in 2017, four years after launch.
In short, Lightyear really has to match its rivals at the very least, and big-screen access could be a deciding factor for would-be customers.
“Many investors prefer to manage their portfolios on the big screen — myself included,” Lightyear co-founder and CEO Martin Sokk said in a statement. “We knew a web app would be a part of Lightyear’s journey in the long term, but by speaking to customers we quickly realised it wasn’t something we should kick down the road.”
Lightyear has secured some $35 million in funding from a slew of high-profile institutional and angel investors, including Lightspeed Venture Partners, Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, and Wise co-founder Taavet Hinrikus. While the trading platform was initially limited to the U.K. market, Lightyear expanded into mainland Europe last summer.
The new web app will support most of the core platform’s features, allowing users to manage their portfolios and make trades, and track their portfolio performance. There are some differences though, for example the main portfolio screen has a chart-drag view that enables users to view their stocks’ performance over a custom timeframe.
While the company plans other web-only features in the long run, the initial release of the web app will be missing some key features from the mobile app that will be added in time, such as the personalised ‘events’ calendar for owned stocks, analyst price targets, and fund highlights.