Social Investing App Public Secures $65 Million in Series C

The Avengers may have a Hulk. But social investing app Public, which offers Millennial and older GenZ investors the ability to make commission-free fractional share investments in U.S. stocks and ETFs, has a Hawk.

The New York City-based company announced this week that it has closed a $65 million Series C round that featured participation from skateboarding legend Tony Hawk, as well as a host of VCs and angel investors.

“As technology continues to disrupt barriers, is creating a platform that makes investing accessible to everyone, while providing a place where they can share ideas and build their confidence as they build their portfolios,” Hawk said in a statement.

Public is not the only investment the famous skateboarder has made in his retirement. Hawk was an early investor in Nest, backed DocuSign, and put money into a San Diego brewery named Black Plague. Five years ago, Hawk participated in the Series C round for Blue Bottle Coffee, a roaster and retailer that offers coffee subscriptions. The company was purchased by Nestle two years later for $500 million. “I like startups because I like being on the ground floor of stuff,” Hawk told Reuters in 2017.

Public’s round was led by Accel. Joining in the Series C along with Hawk and Accel were Lakestar, Greycroft, and Advancit Capital – as well as former chairman and CEO of Time Warner Dick Parsons. The investment comes less than a year after the company’s successful Series B funding, and takes the firm’s total capital to $90 million.

Public is among a growing number of fintechs looking to capitalize on three of the most powerful trends in retail investing these days: commission-free trading, fractional share investing, and a rising demand for investment opportunities from Millennials entering their prime family formation years. In addition to enabling its members to make fractional share purchases of U.S. stocks and ETFs – investing as little as $5 – Public offers a transparent community of both subject-matter experts and fellow traders and investors to help newer members learn how to wisely participate in the markets.

“Our mission to change the culture of investing is resonating with a new generation of investors who value collaboration over competition,” co-CEO Leif Abraham said. “By building the social network for investing, we’re giving people a place to share ideas and discover new ways of thinking in the same place they invest.”

Hawk is not the only celebrity investor in Public. Also participating in the round was Mantis VC, a venture capital outfit founded by electronic music duo, The Chainsmokers. Launched in September with $35 million in commitments from investors like Mark Cuban and Keith Rabois, Mantis VC has also invested in startups like fitness app Fiton and mortgage-lending startup LoanSnap.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled about our investment in and the potential this company has,” MANTIS VC partner and member of The Chainsmokers, Alex Pall said. “We’re all about community and Public’s social focus makes the stock market a more inclusive space where everyone can get educated and excited about investing.”

Photo by Jenny Gregg from Pexels