A fintech backed by singer-songwriter and former Genesis frontman Peter Gabriel has raised £1 million in seed funding as it seeks to disrupt the investment market.
Tumelo, founded by Edinburgh native Georgia Stewart, is a platform designed to promote ethical finance by showing investors which companies they own through personal investments and pension funds.
The app aims to empower users to make a positive impact with their money by increasing transparency around their investments and offering tools for them to take action based on their values.
These could include voting as shareholders, joining campaigns to change company behaviour and switching to ethical funds and pension options.
The seed funding, secured from investors including music icon Gabriel, will be used to “perfect” the Tumelo platform and strengthen its staff with software and user experience specialists, boosting its current seven-strong team to 12.
Assets held in ethical funds have trebled over the past decade in the UK, from £4.5 billion in 2008 to £16.7bn at the end of 2018.
Addleshaw Goddard’s fintech division, based in Scotland, advised the Bristol-based fintech on the deal. Tumelo also received support from the legal firm’s AG Elevate programme, a ten-month initiative offering mentoring and legal guidance to high-growth fintech businesses. The start-up has now secured a place on Tech Nation’s 2019 fintech growth programme.
Stewart, who created the company while studying at Cambridge University to challenge the way the university invested its £6m endowment pot, said she hopes to build on this momentum to drive socially responsible investment.
She said: “Tumelo began life as a university activism campaign. Our campaign was globally successful and, off the back of it, we knew we had to harness the passion of individual investors to influence further change.
“Aside from our political vote, we think – as individuals – that we only have influence at grass roots levels, such as going vegan or reducing plastic use. But that’s not true.
“We are all impact investors – wherever our money is right now – and to influence real change from the top we need to vote with our investments, sending a message to companies that it’s not profit alone we care about but also our future.”
Dave Anderson, partner at Addleshaw Goddard and AG Elevate mentor, said Tumelo plans “to disrupt the traditional ‘out of sight, out of mind’ investment model, giving people the tools to decide where to invest based on their own principles”.
He added: “There are a number of legal and regulatory hurdles to overcome and, by assisting the co-founders with some of these issues, the business will have strong foundations on which to grow. ”