Between eToro and Reddit, the French app Shares tackles trading with friends

At the crossroads between the trading forums on Reddit and an application like Robinhood, eToro or Trade Republic, the French Shares managed a Series A of 35.8 million euros with famous American investors, including Peter Thiel. The co-founder of PayPal and Palantir, who has already taken a stake in two neobanks (N26 and Qonto) and a trading application (Bitpanda), allows Shares to bring its ambitions to the global level only five months after its start.

Joining the round, Shares therefore sees the arrival of Valar Ventures with Peter Thiel, but also Global Founders Capital (created by the founders of Rocket Internet) and the European Singular, a VC based in Paris and which has already invested in the startup OpenClassrooms . Despite the downturn in major marketplaces since the second half of 2021, the appeal of stock trading apps does not seem to be diminishing in the venture capital world.

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A Reddit-style trading app

You should know that Shares will not be immediately accessible in France. Its co-founder, Benjamin Chemla, preferred to capitalize on England – the steps to practice in the European Union providing for an arrival this summer. The product is not new, however: already 60,000 users have been able to discover the platform and start investing in shares – including 2,000 securities on the American markets. The goal is to push the number of users to 150,000 before the end of 2022.

To distinguish himself from other players, Benjamin Chemla imagined the integration of a social dimension into the application. To put it simply, instead of going to dissect the Reddit forums, send messages between friends via Facebook, WhatsApp or Discord, users will be able to stay on the application and share messages and photos. At the same time, the cost of stock market transactions is close to zero.

The groups, up to 20 people, are planned to be made up of people around us, hence their limited capacity. Shares prefers not to name platforms like Reddit, where the forums are open to a much larger number of people, but the idea of ​​creating communities of small numbers, of groups of friends who are interested in the stock market and who could motivate each other to seize new purchasing opportunities in their eyes seems to appeal to the startup.

The year 2021 has shown us, with the WallStreetBets community, that discussion groups on the stock market and investing can have considerable weight and a snowball effect. WallStreetBets was not without Reddit and its media highlighting had made a big promotion for the platform. Shares wants to bounce back on this opportunity, with a social model inspired by Reddit communities and the Discord format.

An educational challenge

The recipe is well thought out. Shares bases its acquisition model on this, and its remuneration on a large volume of transactions by users, who will pay a currency conversion commission of 0.4% in particular. The French fintech will certainly be able to test other ways of getting paid, such as with the implementation of advantages for users on discussion groups.

It could be a paid subscription, for example, so that users can create more newsgroups. Difficult to know to date if the information shared in the groups could prove to have a market value in the eyes of Shares.

Scams, breach of trust, false advice, will be a whole lot of subjects on which Shares will have to pay attention by monitoring its community. Investing in the stock market involves risks and by hosting the communities, the platform could very quickly be held responsible in the event of a problem. In Paris, London and Krakow, offices have been opened and the startup is already working on educational content to train the most novice investors – its number 1 target.

In an interview with Maddynessthe founder of Shares said he gave himself “three years to become a truly global player.”

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