A Chat with Kane Harrison, CEO at Micro-Investment Platform: Wombat

Wombat is a mobile-first micro-investment platform offering everyone the opportunity to invest.

Making saving and investing accessible and enjoyable is at the heart of what we do. We offer users access to a range of carefully chosen low-cost thematic funds and fractional shares, enabling novice investors to create personalised portfolios that reflect their interests, lifestyle, and beliefs. Our themes range across everything from green energy technology, to female-led companies, and even medical cannabis.

Since its launch in 2019, our mission has been to make it easy for people to save and invest for their future through the brands that matter to them. We believe that by breaking down barriers and demystifying the world of trading, we’ll empower more people to build for their futures.
 
 
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How did you come up with the idea for the company?

 
My father worked in a bank in Australia and invested regularly to help generate a steady, passive income to pay for the cost of raising a young family.

It may not sound terribly exciting, but I was enthralled watching him sift through company reports, scan the financial pages and listen out for tips.

That’s when I caught the investing bug. The problem was that as I got older I realised there were barriers preventing me from following in his footsteps.

The problem wasn’t that I didn’t have the knowledge to invest, but that brokers made it nearly impossible for people like me to buy shares.

Not only were the fees astronomical, but this was the era before fractional shares, and so companies’ share prices dwarfed what I earned in a month.

I soon realised that in order to make investing worthwhile I would need to save up at least A$1,000 – or around three times my monthly salary at the time.

That’s where the idea for Wombat was born. I was convinced there must be thousands – if not millions – of people around the world just like me; people who wanted to invest for the long-term but who were effectively barred from the markets because they don’t have piles of cash to buy shares.
 

 

How has the company evolved during the pandemic?

 
We have seen huge growth in our user numbers during the pandemic. We were recently named the fastest-growing investment app by App Radar beating the likes of Freetrade, Interactive Investor and PensionBee. Since launching in 2019 we have attracted over 190,000 users and this number is growing all the time.

We want to make investing as easy as possible and help people from all walks of life to access the growth potential of the stock market. One of the good things to come from the pandemic was that it did allow many households to save more than they normally would and this led to a sharp increase in the number of new retail investors.

We are very much catered to this beginner investor audience, as many as 75% of our users have never invested before. During the pandemic, we have shown great resilience as a business, but more than anything demonstrated our credentials as a leading platform of choice for novice investors.
 

What can we hope to see from Wombat in the future?

 
To support our users on their investment journey it is important that we continue to provide them with the tools and knowledge to become more confident, experienced investors. With this mind, we will look at opportunities to expand our current range of investment options and to enhance our learning hub, and educational resources. We want to be a one-stop-shop for all our users’ investment needs.

We’re also planning to expand into Europe into 2022 to help consumers outside of the UK who are looking for a platform to help them make the most of their money.