Will Smith-Backed Public.com Raises $220 Million For Social Investing Network

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Social investing network Public.com has raised $220 million in a Series D funding round that was supported by existing investors including Will Smith’s Dreamers VC, Accel, Greycroft, Lakestar, YouTube’s Phil DeFranco and more. 

“We started this company with an ambitious mission: to open the stock market to everyone by changing its underlying culture. Today, our members helped us take a big step forward: We are now one million members strong,” Public.com co-CEO Leif Abraham said in a press release on Wednesday (Feb. 17). “The Public community is about investing in companies, not just trading stocks. We believe that investing is one of the most powerful forcing functions for building financial literacy,” he added.

The new investment round follows the company’s $65 million Series C funding, bringing the total funding to date to $310 million and raising the company’s valuation to $1.2 billion. Just 18 months after launching, the New York startup logged one million members. 

Public will use the latest funding to expand its infrastructure to help ensure the stability and reliability of the platform. The funding will also help the company build out its product offerings to include crypto, pre- and post-market trading, recurring investments and more.

“We’re seeing a steady acceleration of interest in the stock market, with topics previously isolated to Wall Street entering the cultural zeitgeist in ways never seen before,” said Public.com co-CEO and co-founder Jannick Malling. “This movement has sparked curiosity among millions of people who, for the first time, are looking to learn more and participate themselves.”

Last year, Public introduced features like long-term portfolios to help members navigate the differences between long- and short-term investing strategies. The company said that it does not encourage day-trading and doesn’t offer options or margin accounts.

In the world of stock market investing, Robinhood aimed to democratize investing, but ended up a catalyst to big volatility swings.

In a January PYMNTS interview, Public.com’s Abraham said the platform model can democratize investing and introduce it to people without a background in finance.

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NEW PYMNTS DATA: BUY NOW, PAY LATER CONSUMER STUDY 

About: Buy Now, Pay Later: Millennials And The Shifting Dynamics Of Online Credit, a PYMNTS and PayPal collaboration, examines the demand for new flexible credit options as well as how consumers, especially those in the millennial demographic, are paying online. The study is based on two surveys, totaling nearly 15,000 U.S. consumers.

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