Ant Money, a micro-investing startup founded by Acorns co-founder Walter Cruttenden, announced raising $20 million in funding led by Franklin Venture Partners, RX3 Ventures, SteelBridge Laboratories and Steelpoint Capital Partners, according to a press release.
The company also announced finalizing the acquisition of Blast, a company also previously founded by Cruttenden, via a stock-for-stock merger. The Series A included a mix of previously unannounced seed and Series A capital.
Funding will be used in conjunction with the Blast merger to increase the number of applications under the Ant Money umbrella, from one to three, and allow users to earn money for building investment accounts through a number of channels.
“Building an investment account early in life can help people on the road to financial success, but many people don’t start because they lack the knowledge or funds,” Cruttenden stated in the release.
“My hope is that Ant Money, which helps people generate small amounts of money to seed accounts, can foster new growing accounts and provide increased financial security for millions,” he said.
The Blast merger means Ant Money will now offer three apps through its platform, including ‘ATM’, ‘Blast’ and ‘Learn & Earn.’ ATM enables users to generate micro-income that can then be invested through Ant Money Advisors, a wholly owned SEC-registered investment advisor and robo-advisor similar to Acorns.
Blast is aimed at bringing personalized financial tools to gamers, offering a way for users to save money while playing video games, according to TechCrunch. The acquired company’s Learn & Earn app utilizes a partnership with Junior Achievement USA to help people earn money by learning new skills, which are then automatically invested into the market and can be used to teach market intelligence.
“Embedding investment functionality into apps that already pay users rewards or other incentives is a fantastic way to help young investors get started, and an innovative way for Ant Money to build a large customer base with relatively low customer acquisition costs,” said James Cross, Managing Director of Franklin Templeton‘s Franklin Venture Partners.
In other recent fintech news, TheHouseMonk is eyeing US and UK expansion following a $5 million fundraise led by Aurum PropTech. PropTech funding has also returned to pre-pandemic levels, based on research conducted by the Center for Real Estate Technology and Innovation (CRETI).