By: 27 March 2024

Belong aims to make wealth-building more accessible to millennials

UK wealthtech Belong emerges from stealth with £3.4m funding

Belong, a new wealth-building platform, has launched after securing $3.4m in pre-seed funding, the largest pre-seed round ever raised by female founders in Europe.  

Founded by former investment banker Avion Gray and behavioural economist Samantha Rosenberg, Belong aims to make wealth-building more accessible, with a focus on “professionally employed” millennials.  

Octopus Ventures, Viola Fintech and Connect Ventures, alongside other angel investors, participated in the round.  

“We need two things in order to build long-term wealth—time and money, but we rarely have both of these elements concurrently,” said Gray.  

“Millennials still have the time ahead of us to see any long-term investment we make now compound and pay off before retirement, but we often struggle to get started. Whether that’s due to not being able to secure a mortgage, lack of confidence around investing or feeling like we don’t have enough cash available to make it worthwhile—Belong is changing this.”   

Millennials are the first generation in history to be worse off financially than their parents. Despite making up the majority of the population (22%), they own less than 5% of the stock market. However, Belong estimates that 18–24-year-olds in the UK alone have access to an estimated £300bn in cash savings, generally sat in low-interest savings or current accounts.  

Belong, which has been operating in stealth, claims to be the first platform to offer customers an optional loan to scale up a long-term investment in equities. It offers a ‘Boost loan’, which allows more money to be invested upfront, thus magnifying the effect of compounding over time.  

In the past, applying leverage, or borrowed capital, to enhance long-term financial outcomes has been restricted to wealthier investors. But with a £1,000 minimum investment, Belong hopes, this is something that millennials may find more accessible.  

Rosenberg said: “The excess money millennials keep in savings accounts or cash ISAs is simply not working hard enough for us. Not investing it, means we are losing out on our primary wealth building years.   

“People like the idea of having easy access to their cash, but this is often due to present bias—the tendency to discount one’s future self in favour of more immediate gratification. Our future self feels like a stranger, and it’s difficult to make sacrifices for that person today.” 

Zihao Xu, Fintech Partner at Octopus Ventures, added: “We are proud to be on this journey with Belong and look forward to supporting the company in its quest to be a true pioneer in long-term wealth-building. Samantha and Avion’s shared vision and complementary expertise puts them in a great position to help more people get on the path to a better financial future.” 

Image: Belong  

Josh Poyser
Josh Poyser is an editor at FinTech Intel. He has written about fintech for several years and appeared at FinTech Connect 2023 on the 'Unlocking Success: The Art of Fintech PR' panel.