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Exclusive: Meghan and Harry-backed fintech Ethic raises $50M

Lucinda Shen
Sep 14, 2022
Illustration of a collage of money elements and a compass.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Ethic, the socially responsible investing startup backed by Prince Harry and Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle, has raised $50 million in Series C funding, the company told Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: The funding round shows continued inflows into value-based investing even in a market downturn, and it highlights the move toward personalization of portfolios.

Background: Ethic's assets under management grew 53% since October 2021 to $2 billion, the company says (the S&P 500 fell about 9% during that same stretch).

  • Ethic creates personalized portfolios based on investors' values, which may may include climate change, women's rights, and deforestation.
  • It also helps users reduce their capital gains taxes— a feature that has become an important draw during the recent market volatility, CEO Doug Scott said in an interview.

Details: Jordan Park, an existing investor and client of Ethic, is leading the funding round. Other investors include UBS Next, Oak HC/FT, Nyca Partners, Sound Ventures, Urban Innovation Fund and Kapor Capital.

  • Joining Park in the round are Meghan and Harry, after joining the startup as "impact partners" and making their first investments late last year.
  • Though the company is not disclosing its exact valuation, Scott says that this is an up round.

Context: Ethic is among few index personalization firms that remain independent after a string of acquisitions in the space.

  • Last year's consolidation wave included Franklin Resources's acquisition of O’Shaughnessy Asset Management; Vanguard of JustInvest; BlackRock of Aperio; Morgan Stanley of Parametric Portfolio.
  • Ethic's financing round allows it to better compete against these peers.

Looking forward, the roughly 72-person firm plans to use the new capital to hire around 10 more people by the end of the year, expand into asset classes outside of equity, grow internationally, and expand into institutional investors.

  • "We're three immigrant founders," says Scott, noting the EU is likely the company's first international market. "So we've always had a global mindset for Ethic."
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