Online investment platform Vested Finance is developing an avenue for Indian investors to invest in the U.S. stock market. The company, headquartered in San Francisco, raised $3.6 million in seed funding to accelerate product development and hire talent across the U.S. and India.
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“Investing in the U.S. market is not a new idea, but previously, there were so many barriers to do that from India,” Viram Shah, co-founder and CEO of Vested Finance, told Crunchbase News.
Those barriers include having minimum deposit requirements, opening accounts and submitting paperwork to open a U.S. brokerage, as well as paying high commissions — in some cases $5 to $10 per trade — making an average stock purchase cost $2,000 more, he added.
Vested’s zero-commission online platform requires no minimum balance and allows investment in U.S. stocks in minutes. Investors can choose individual stocks or ETFs, or select from a variety of curated portfolios created with various goals, themes and risk levels in mind, Shah said.
“Indians have always been consumers of global products and understand them, but never had an opportunity to invest in them,” he added. “We are allowing wealth creation in a more sustainable manner that is relevant to our audience. It is exciting to give tools to people to allow them access to things they never had access to before as retail investors.”
The round was backed by Moving Capital, Ovo Fund and TenOneTen Ventures in the U.S., as well as Inflection Point Ventures and Venture Catalysts in India. Including this round, Vested has raised a total of $3.6 million in funding since being founded in 2018, Shah said.
Gil Elbaz, partner at TenOneTen Ventures, said in a written statement that while the U.S. is “a global center of innovation,” there is a benefit to being able to invest in the country’s markets.
“Vested is bringing this cross-border investment opportunity to India and beyond, allowing local investors to diversify globally by spreading out their risk, and we’re excited about the possibilities Vested will bring to individuals in India, Southeast Asia and around the globe,” he added.
Meanwhile, Vested intends to focus the new funds on product development and adding to its team of 26. The current team is mostly remote across Denver, San Francisco and India, and Shah expects to hire more talent, mainly in customer success.
The company saw rapid growth in 2020, with Vested processing more than $100 million in trades. More than half of the investors using the Vested platform are investing in the U.S. market for the first time ever, Shah said.
With the recent news about retail investors piling into stocks such as GameStop and AMC Entertainment, Vested saw a massive spike in new accounts — five times the growth in the last few weeks, Shah said.
“GameStop was the most popular, with 20 percent of the trades going into that, and AMC was third behind Tesla, which is usually the most popular,” he added.
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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