LONDON — Aviva has bought a majority stake in “robo” investment startup Wealthify for an undisclosed sum.
Insurance and investment giant Aviva has become the majority shareholder in Cardiff-based Wealthify, which lets people make low-cost investments online. The product will be integrated into Aviva’s online portal MyAviva.
Blair Turnbull, Managing Director of Aviva UK Digital, said in a statement: “It is remarkably easy to use, with no complicated jargon, no expensive fees, and you can start investing with as little as £1.
“It is particularly aimed at traditional cash savers, who are seeking to diversify their investments, and also at millennials who appreciate an effortless and straightforward digital experience.”
Wealthify only launched in April 2016. The startup raised £1.1 million through crowdfunding last year at a pre-money valuation of £9.7 million. It is one of a number of so-called “robo-advisors” that use technology to give people low-cost investment advice and services.
“Robo-advisors” have become one of the hottest areas of fintech over the last 18 months, with BlackRock and Allianz investing in startups in the space and HSBC announcing plans to launch its own in-house product.
Richard Theo, Co-founder and CEO of Wealthify, said in a statement announcing the Aviva deal: “This significant investment in the emerging ‘robo’ market, by one of the world’s largest and most recognised financial services brands, is validation of the vision we set out to achieve three years ago to change investing for the better.
“Aviva’s investment and access to their millions of UK customers gives us confidence that we can become the leader in this market in the UK and beyond.”
Aviva has set up a venture capital fund, Aviva Ventures, with £100 million to invest by 2020 but Business Insider understands that the Wealthify deal was done directly with Aviva, rather than its VC arm.
Turnbull said: “This is another important step in Aviva’s digital strategy. It underlines our commitment to invest in
and partner with leading digital businesses, allowing our customers to benefit from new technology and making insurance and investments simpler, easier and more convenient.”
Aviva is one of a number of financial services giants looking to invest in fintech startups in a bit to “future proof” its business. German insurance giant Allianz invested in rival robo-advisor Moneyfarm last October and Legal & General this week also announced a £40 million investment in SalaryFinance, a lending startup.
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