Will Smith Invests in Commission-Free Investing App Public

The app attracted a number of celebrity investors in its Series B funding round.

Public, a commission-free social investing app, has attracted some big names in its Series B funding round, with Hollywood actor Will Smith and National Football League (NFL) star JJ Watt throwing their support behind the company.

In particular, the Public app has raised $15 million in the funding round, which was led by Accel and Greycroft. According to the company’s website, the round also saw participation from Dreamers VC, which was founded by Will Smith and Japanese soccer star Keisuke Honda.

Also participating in the round were NFL star J.J. Watt, Shari Redstone’s Advancit Capital, Sophia Amoruso, founder and CEO of Girlboss (now owned by Attention Capital), YouTube creator and entrepreneur Casey Neistat, Scott Belsky, founder of Behance and Adobe chief product officer, Blavity founder and CEO Morgan DeBaun.

The commission-free movement

The Public app, which was previously called Matador, is part of a large movement in the United States, with Robinhood at the forefront of tech upstarts aiming to disrupt the retail investing model.

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As Finance Magnates reported, many brokerages in the United States have been adopting a zero-fee commission model in order to stay competitive with Robinhood and attract younger investors.

Public allows its clients to buy parts of any US stocks and invest in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) commission-free. According to Finextra, the New York-based startup, which was founded in 2017, is trying to set itself apart through its social side. In particular, the app allows its customers to follow friends, experts, companies, and themes, to help them learn about investing.

Jannick Malling, CEO of Public
Public.com co-CEO Jannick Malling
Source: LinkedIn

Speaking to Variety Media, Public.com co-CEO Jannick Malling said: “People see investing in the stock market as a daunting process.” The app’s “social layer enables the first phase of an investing journey — you don’t need to invest $10,000 upfront.”

Leif Abraham, CEO of public
Public.com co-CEO, Leif Abraham
Source: LinkedIn

When asked why it wanted to tap celebrity investors for its Series B round, Public.com’s other co-CEO, Leif Abraham, told the media outlet: “As a social investing app, we want to be inclusive. As the community is built, we want to bring influencers on to the app so that we can build the next generation of investors.” 

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