Photo: Grünfin's team
Estonian startup Grünfin, founded in 2020, has built a retail investment platform exclusively for funds with positive environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors. The company screens funds before listing them, ranking each on its impact and return on investment. Users can choose to build an environmental, equality, or health-themed portfolio. Grünfin’s new product adds another distribution model, allowing companies to collect and invest money to fulfill their employees’ dreams.
The investment round included existing investors Norrsken VC, Specialist VC, Lemonade Stand, and the company’s founders Triin Hertmann, Alvar Lumberg and Karin Nemec. New investors included Sie Ventures and HoneyBadger VC.
Grünfin’s new product is designed for companies that want to invest in a sustainable future through their activities, allowing them to provide value-based and personalised benefits to their staff.
“Financial independence and sustainability are important keywords for the new generation. Grünfin’s new product is designed for innovative and forward-thinking companies wanting to meet this demand," comments Triin Hertmann, co-founder of Grünfin.
“Finding and keeping talent is one of the biggest challenges companies face today. Especially the younger generation expects meaningful work and a sense of mission from their employers,” notes Triin Hertmann, co-founder of Grünfin. “In addition, companies are increasingly looking at more sustainable choices and activities”, Hertmann adds.
Grünfin’s first corporate client was Fractory, another Estonian breakthrough startup which speeds ups and automates factory manufacturing in the pan-European market. “By making portfolios for all their employees’ children, Fractory became our first corporate customer,” says Hertmann. “But as the interest in the market was much broader, we realised that there was missing innovation in the benefits package offered to employees,” she explains.
Hertmann and Lumbers are ex-Wise employees, while Nemec joined the startup after spending a decade at the Nordic banking group Swedbank Estonia.
Employers increasingly realise that loyal employees are the key to success. Still, there is a dearth of personalised and meaningful ways to assess good talent. Free coffee and health insurance are considered more of hygiene than a real benefit. According to a study by Grünfin, 40% of employees do not take full advantage of these benefits nor see the significant added value there.
“Financial independence and sustainability are important keywords for the new generation,” comments Triin Hertmann, noting that Grünfin’s new product is designed for innovative and forward-thinking companies wanting to meet this demand.
Grünfin’s investment plan is like a flexible option program, allowing every company to value its employees or their children, provide them with sustainable financial security and embed good financial habits. At the same time, the program helps to retain talent, as the transfer of ownership of the investment portfolio can be linked to seniority.
Studies show that financial stress is one of the most critical influences on job performance. To reduce it, Grünfin provides a way to start investing in a secure, informed, and employer-supported way. No previous investment experience or knowledge is essential for any program participant or manager; anyone can become an investor. When needed, the startup provides training to grow financial literacy, which will give people an awareness of how to manage their finances wisely, in addition to customer support in Estonian, German and English.