Making sense of the markets this week: May 10, 2021

Wealthsimple taps celebrities and nets a $5-billion valuation

In October of 2020, we reported on a previous round of financing for Wealthsimple. At that time, valuation estimates for the Canadian online investment company were in the $1-billion range. 

The actual valuation turned out to be closer to $1.5 billion. 

Fast forward to this week: Wealthsimple announced another round of financing that raises the price tag to $5-billion. And celebs are in on the act as well, with musician Drake, actors Ryan Reynolds and Michael J. Fox, and a few high-profile professional athletes stepping forward with cash to invest in the fintech giant. 

Wealthsimple originally launched as one of Canada’s robo-advisors, and has moved on to add more financial services, including a discount brokerage. Many say that they “own” the millennial market in Canada. That offers incredible long term potential, and the appeal for investors. 

It’s certainly not soaring on the basis of profits that are yet to arrive—and might be many, many years away. 

In this week’s round of fundraising, led by venture capitalists Meritech and Greylock, and also includes Inovia, Sagard and Redpoint, Two Sigma Ventures, TCV, as well as the celebrities and athletes mentioned above, Wealthsimple has raised $750 million CAD. 

The company has experienced significant growth during the pandemic, which is likely one big reason why its valuation has increased so dramatically. 

Wealthsimple’s commission-free retail trading platform has grown rapidly, and clients are investing in bitcoin by way of their crypto trading platform. Late last year, Wealthsimple also launched its money transfer app, Wealthsimple Cash, and in March 2021 it made it available to all Canadians. 

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