Aviva is taking a majority stake in robo investment startup Wealthify

UK-based insurance giant Aviva has announced it’s buying a majority stake in robo investment startup, Wealthify.

The financial value and exact size of Aviva’s majority stake has not been disclosed but a spokesman told us: “It is a significant investment and importantly, gives us access to Aviva’s millions of UK customers which will help us to reach the mass market we’re aiming for.”

The transaction remains subject to regulatory approval at this stage.

Aviva says the investment is part of its strategy to build customer loyalty via a range of services that can be accessed by its MyAviva customer portal, while also seeing opportunity to grow Wealthify’s business via exposure to the Aviva customer base.

Aviva claims 33 million customers for its life insurance, general insurance, health insurance and asset management services, across 16 markets.

While Cardiff, Wales based Wealthify, which only launched its platform in April 2016, had set itself a target of helping one million UK savers become investors in the next decade. It tells us it has around 10,000 at this stage.

Wealthify targets millennials and those new to investment by providing “a simple, easy to use and low fee digital investment service” — investing the money on behalf of its users, starting from a minimum of a £1 investment, and offering five diversified investment plans through ISAs and general investment accounts.

A dashboard view shows Wealthify users a breakdown of their investments, how they are performing and how they are projected to perform. It competes with the likes of Nutmeg, Scalable Capital, and Moneyfarm.

Commenting on the news in a statement, Richard Theo, co-founder and CEO of Wealthify, described the investment as a “validation of the vision we set out to achieve three years ago to change investing for the better”.

“Aviva’s investment and access to their millions of UK customers gives us confidence that we can become the leader in this market in the UK and beyond,” he said, adding: “The capital investment from Aviva will be used primarily to accelerate our ambitious growth plans as well as develop our technology to enhance the proposition. We will remain focused on simplicity, affordability and transparency, and strive to make investing accessible to everyone.”

In a second supporting statement, Blair Turnbull, MD of Aviva UK digital, added: “Wealthify combines a smart management team with great technology and a start up culture. Together with the brand and financial strength of Aviva, we are very excited about the future opportunity, making Wealthify available to Aviva customers through the convenience of our MyAviva online and app experience.”