TechRound spoke to Karan Shanmugarajah, CEO of WealthKernel, to understand how WealthKernel is transforming the investment infrastructure and allowing businesses to build and offer investment functionality in flexible and cost-effective ways.
WealthKernel provides the building blocks to power any digital investing offering, empowering a better, more accessible wealth and investment industry. We are transforming investing infrastructure for an industry inhibited by leaky ‘legacy pipes’ that impede the savings and pensions of millions of people.
We provide easily-embedded investment infrastructure, over API, for companies looking to offer digital wealth and investment services. From Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) to General Investing Accounts (GIAs) and Self-Invested Pension Plans (SIPP) – our technology helps customers quickly and easily launch financial products for their retail clients. We also custody millions of pounds on behalf of our clients.
Our goal is to pioneer industry-leading vertically integrated infrastructure that makes investing easy by allowing businesses to build and offer investment functionality in flexible, cost-effective, and creative ways.
How did you come up with the idea for the company?
We recognised that existing wealth infrastructure was too expensive, poorly designed, and not built for a digital-first world.
Building investing products and applications on this outdated infrastructure is slow, costly, and requires heavy investment. By being based on old tech, it also creates legacy issues and slows down innovation at fintechs that want to push product boundaries for users.
Companies need to pass on the costs, and undertake massive investments that would detract from building consumer-facing products. This would also mean continuously investing to keep up with companies on better technology stacks. Additionally, similar companies attempting to disrupt the industry with newer infrastructure weren’t flexible or supportive enough for fintechs bringing creative solutions to the market, so we found success there.
On top of this, the wealth and investment industry has typically been catered towards wealthier individuals, or those with significant sums of money to invest. Our mission is to lower the barrier to entry to wealth and investment services for the everyday person by offering reliable and cost-effective investing infrastructure, and being supportive to those that build on it. We don’t just cater to those with high-value investments – our infrastructure is built to serve everyday needs, and with our powerful fractional engine investors can invest as low as 10 GBP in many liquid assets.
How has the company evolved during the pandemic?
As WealthKernel operates predominantly remotely, we’ve been fortunate that the pandemic hasn’t impacted our business too much. Despite the challenges posed for many other businesses, we’ve seen our company grow quite significantly over the past couple of years through new customer partnerships, investing heavily in product development, and expanding our teams in the UK, Spain, and around the world.
For example, last year, we partnered with Wealth8 – a digital wealth and investment service aimed at underrepresented communities which focuses on tackling inequalities faced by black and multi-ethnic minorities when accessing wealth management. Using our API, Wealth8 launched an investment app during Black History Month. We also helped to address accessibility to financial guidance overall by partnering with the UK’s first digital financial coaching app, Claro Money, which uses our flexible investing APIs and regulatory umbrella.
Furthermore, we recently launched our digital SIPP functionality, allowing fintechs to offer pensions to their clients simply and efficiently. Pension-tech firm, Penny, was the first to integrate our SIPP offering. With consumers favouring accessibility and more say over how their pensions are invested, our offering launched at a key time in the market.
What can we hope to see from WealthKernel in the future?
With $7m raised in a recent Series A+ round earlier this year, WealthKernel is on an ambitious trajectory to launch in Europe later this year, and expand its API investment infrastructure to include intraday trading.
We recently launched SIPPs, JISAs, instant matching deposits and virtual accounts powered by cloud-based clearing bank, ClearBank. This new functionality removes the wait for clearing of funds, and allows retail customers of WealthKernel’s partners to fund accounts and engage in trading instantly.
Beyond this, a core goal of ours is to become the leading provider of digital wealth and investment infrastructure in the UK and Europe.
This article was originally published here - Interview.