Launched in 2018, StarTalers continues its rapid rise by announcing its first round of funding. The €520K investment round was led by the Luxembourg Stock Exchange (LuxSE) along with a group of female business angels and the early stage VC fund Seeder Fund. This capital will allow the Luxembourgish startup to bring its online financial advisory service to the market.
by: Charles-Louis Machuron
photo: Kaori Anne Jolliffe
featured: Gaëlle Haag
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Raising capital to finance growth
The Luxembourg Stock Exchange, a group of female business angels and Seeder Fund (an early stage Belgian VC fund that has backed Look&Fin, NextGateTech, and Appmiral) have just invested in StarTalers. LuxSE has also acquired a significant stake in the company.
This funding will be used to reinforce the technical team and complete the development of its digital platform. This first round of funding is in addition to the €50K it won during the 2018 Arch Summit and the €50K it received from Fit 4 Start Acceleration program.
The startup has set an ambitious goal to hit in the next 12 months: to launch its digital investment advice offering in all French and Belgian markets. At a later stage, it eventually plans to expand into other European markets.
“It provides the crucial funding needed to develop and launch our platform so that we can help women become financial investors.”
An award-winning startup for the female investor community
Since its launch, StarTalers’ digital advisor has caught the attention of a group of potential investors that have so far been neglected in the financial services industry: women with no prior investment experience. The startup caters specifically to the financial needs of women and has brought together a new community of female investors who want to enable societal impact through their investments (see our article “Wake up the potential of female investors”). Once this launches, StarTalers will investors will be able to build an investment portfolio that reflects each investor’s individual values and personal goals. “Only 10% of women invest today, that’s half as many as men. The 20% pay gap we’ve all heard of becomes a 40% capital gap at retirement. Women have substantially less to live through retirement – and they live on average 5 years longer. We are women’s BFF (Best Financial Friend),” says Gaëlle Haag, co-founder of StarTalers.
It has been just one year since launch and the startup has already won several awards for its innovative approach. Gaëlle Haag, StarTalers’ co-founder and CEO, received the Whoopi Goldberg Female Empowerment Award at the 2018 Arch Summit in Luxembourg for her work in providing women with an educational platform that breaks down the taboo around female investment (see our article “The Arch Summit winners!”). StarTalers was also recognized by Luxinnovation and has graduated from the Fit 4 Start acceleration program, a program dedicated to startups with high potential, whose €100K grant contributed to the funding round.
“This investment by the Luxembourg Stock Exchange marks a huge step forward for the future of StarTalers. It provides the crucial funding needed to develop and launch our platform so that we can help women become financial investors. We estimate that women in Europe have around 580 billion euros in assets which are not being invested today, largely because women feel excluded from the investment world. This is something we would like to change,” says Gaëlle Haag.
“StarTalers not only aligns with our leading status as a sustainable exchange, but also with the main aspects of our CSR strategy.”
Promoting sustainable finance
While the StarTalers team will continue to perfect their product – also known as Donna – LuxSE will continue to advance its sustainable finance agenda in Luxembourg and beyond.
“The mission of StarTalers and its focus on responsible investing are fully in line with our exchange’s efforts in supporting the Sustainable Development Goals’ agenda and advancing sustainable finance. StarTalers is a young startup with a big purpose, namely, to make the financial world more inclusive, while helping investors make a positive environmental or social impact through their investments. StarTalers not only aligns with our leading status as a sustainable exchange, but also with the main aspects of our CSR strategy. We are proud to be part of this project,” commented Julie Becker, Member of the Executive Committee of LuxSE and Founder of the Luxembourg Green Exchange.
To help the team achieve its ambitions, two highly qualified administrators are joining the Board: Dominique Wroblewski, Partner and COO at Look&Fin and Pierre Schoonbroodt, CFO and Member of the Executive Committee of LuxSE. They will help the founding team to achieve its ambitious goals. A strategic committee with industry experts and seasoned entrepreneurs will further complement the skills of the management team.
The company hopes to receive approval from regulators by the fall of 2020. Until then, the next few months will be focused on closing two key hires (technical director and marketing director), finalizing a technical provider, and creating a community through the organization of workshops in Luxembourg, Brussels and Paris. If all goes well, StarTalers is not far from a second round of funding!