Investing has never been more popular with younger affluent consumers, but retail banks are not interested in helping this goal. Is ikigai, a fintech putting ‘self-care at the heart of personal finance’, the answer? Patrick Brusnahan writes

ikigai claims it can enable clients to spend well, save well and invest well, all within one app – a promising solution for many looking to get into the field.The product does seem to be something that many consumers are interested in. For proof, just look at ikigai’s crowdfunding. It closed its successful Crowdcube campaign having raised £1,905,993 ($2.7m), an overfunding by 158%.

Funds raised will see ikigai continue to invest in its team and accelerate its product roadmap. In addition, it will continue to iterate its product, introducing new features that will redefine the way young and affluent users bank, empowering them to spend, save, and invest in line with their personal and financial goals.

The total amount raised equates to 14.82% equity at a pre-money valuation of £10.95m, and the company previously raised £2.2m from private and angel investors in a pre-seed round completed in 2020.

Neither a case of wants nor needs

Speaking to PBI, ikigai co-founder Edgar de Picciotto says: “ikigai is here to help the young affluent take better care of their money and grow their money.“The way we think about it, there’s a huge gap in the financial services market. On one side, the retail banks, the service is usually kind of free, but you don’t get much value from it. And on the other side of the market is a private banking market where you can get really good service, but is kind of inaccessible for a huge chunk of the population.

“In there is a huge gap, people who have enough money to afford something a bit better, who have enough money to start investing and start seeing their money grow. However, they are currently stuck with the retail banks and stockbrokers. They’re actually willing to do more with their money but they don’t see a service for that. And that’s where ikigai comes in.”

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He describes the typical ikigai customer as around 30 years old, working as an engineer, consultant or a rising artist, people entering their prime earning and spending years. These people are looking for somewhere to grow their money and a relationship adviser to help them through that. This is what ikigai aims to offer.

ikigai co-founder Maurizio Kaiser tells PBI: “Over the past couple of months, we’ve seen a huge new wave of investors, people that have never invested before, and now are thinking about what to do what to do with their money.”

At time of writing, ikigai has been on the Apple App Store for two months and has been downloaded over 2,000 times. According to Kaiser, this number is growing by 20% week on week.

The fintech, just before its crowdfunding campaign, launched a stocks and shares ISA. It was favourable as “ISAs in the UK are both flexible and very advantageous from a tax perspective.”

This allowed customers to invest up to £20,000 tax-free using its premium digital experience combined with a relationship manager offering a high-touch, human connection that digital banks and fintechs today don’t offer. Once onboarded, the app has a simple, clean design that easily separates money into accounts for spending, saving and investing through the Everyday, Nest and Wealth product features.

Is this the first of many products?

Kaiser concludes: “What we see as the main issue with the investing world is there are too many options. If you land on the stockbroker website, or even a wealth manager website, you will see tonnes of options. It is good to have options, but that also creates short paralysis. So, we focussed more on improving our current product by making the experience better than by adding a tonne of different features and investment options.”