Angel investors roll in behind Aikido in near €1m fundraise

Dublin-based fintech says it is intent on democratising quantitative investing

A number of well-known Irish business executives have lined up to back Aikido Finance, a Dublin-based start-up that claims to be on a mission to democratise quantitative investing.

The fintech, which has just raised €900,000 in seed financing, says its new investment platform provides members of the public with the same tools traditionally used by financial institutions.

The software-as-a-service (Saas) platform allows individuals to build their own investment portfolio in minutes using its research-backed strategies.

“Quantitative investing – that is using computers to make investment decisions – are usually the reserve of elite hedge funds like Renaissance, but we believe that this approach should be available to everyone,” chief executive Shane Monks O’Byrne told The Irish Times.

Mr Monks O'Byrne founded the start-up last year along with Conor Naylor, Tom Nolan and Daniel Roberts. The company, which has nine employees in total, is fully remote, with its chief executive living and working in a camper van.

The new seed funding round was led by US VC firm GoAhead Ventures, with Enterprise Ireland also participating. A number of angel investors have also backed the company including Paschal Naylor and Howard Roberts, who founded Arkphire, which was acquired by US firm Presido in a $142 million deal earlier this year.

Other backers include Tim Murphy, who previously served as head of BNY Mellon Clearing International for EMEA; Enda Dowling, vice-president of software engineering at Workday; and Pa Nolan, one of Fexco's earlier employees and someone who has backed numerous start-ups including Deposify, Treemetrics, Scurri, Orecco and Wazp.

Headcount

Mr Monks O’Byrne said the financing would be used to further invest in the company’s platform and in boosting headcount.

“It is a very complex product so our team is predominantly made up of software developers, but as we go forward we’re looking to add to our sales and marketing capability as we look to go global,” he said.

"There has been a massive influx of retail investors with 10 million brokerage accounts opened in the US alone last year, but many of these have been brought into it through things such as the Gamestop fiasco, which involves a lot of risk. We are offering a rules-based approach to investing so that choices are made based on evidence rather than emotion," said Mr Monks O'Bryne.