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South African founder lands record pre-seed funding in Europe

By , ITWeb
South Africa , 27 Mar 2024
Belong founders Samantha Rosenberg (L) and Avion Gray (R).
Belong founders Samantha Rosenberg (L) and Avion Gray (R).

Samantha Rosenberg, a South African entrepreneur, and her business partner Avion Grey, the founders of the investing platform Belong, have raised the largest pre-seed round in Europe by female founders.

Belong, a new wealth-building platform, launched yesterday after raising £2.95 million in pre-seed capital.

Rosenberg, co-founder and COO, was raised in South Africa and is an economist with a focus on behavioural finance. She was a member of Africa's first team of applied behavioural specialists, working with financial institutions across the continent and in Europe.

Grey, who is originally from Trinidad, studied finance at Howard University before moving on to investment banking and earning an MBA at Stanford.

The two stated that Belong intends to make wealth-building opportunities available to a broader market, with a concentration on professionally employed millennials.

Belong, which has been operating in stealth, is the first platform to provide consumers with an optional loan to increase their long-term investment in shares, according to the business.

The startup said it has developed a new low-interest 'Boost loan' option that allows more money to be invested upfront, magnifying the effect of compounding over time.

Customers repay the Boost loan separately, in tiny monthly instalments, allowing their investment to grow.

According to the company, in the past, applying leverage, or borrowed capital, to enhance long-term financial outcomes has been restricted to wealthier investors, but with a £1,000 minimum investment, this is something that millennials may find more accessible.

“The positive demand from Belong's beta customers is early evidence that this product is highly appealing to the target demographic – to date, 84% of customers have opted for a Boost loan, with 100% retention and on-time repayments after 15 months,” said the start-up. 

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