Smart Pension, Cord and SquadPal Secure Funding

There's positive action in London as a retirement technology provider, a platform to "helps tools and apps become more interactive", and an employee engagement app get funding.

Ambitions run high as the London-based trio of Smart Pension, Cord and SquadPal have grabbed some tech funding. 

Smart Pension announced investment from asset manager DWS as part of its £165 million Series D funding round.

Cord, a platform to “helps tools and apps become more interactive”, secured £12.85 million Series A investment led by Index Ventures.

While employee engagement app SquadPal got £400,000 Pre-Seed investment from investors including CapitalT VC.

That’s Smart

It’s obvious really from the name but Smart Pension is a retirement technology provider. As part of the funding round, DWS is acquiring a minority stake. This follows the recent announcement that Chrysalis Investments has joined Smart’s list of investors.

Smart says its technology powers its own captive master trust, one of the “big four” UK auto enrolment master trusts, as well as partnering with financial institutions internationally including Zurich in Dubai and New Ireland Assurance in Ireland.

Chrysalis Investments leads the Series D funding round with a £75 million investment.

Smart’s technology platform serves close to a million savers, and the firm reckons it is on a trajectory to support five million savers over the next 24 months, having grown from £100 million AUM to £2 billion in just over two years. The company was founded in 2014.

Co-founders of Smart, Will Wynne and Andrew Evans, comment: “We’re delighted by their recognition of Smart’s journey to date, and the huge additional opportunity ahead of us in the $55 trillion (£40.3 trillion) global retirement savings market, means they’re joining us as an investor and partner to help fuel our global growth as a wave of legislative change sweeps the world.”

Forward for Cord 

Cord wants to “foster more digital collaboration and engagement, in line with the rise of remote working”.

Other investors in the round such as NFX and Stride participated, along with angel investors Elad Gil, Jeff Morris Jr., Charlie Songhurst, Guy Podjarny and Matt Robinson.

Cord’s API – a single line of Javascript – can be used to offer features for businesses wanting to make their apps and software more collaborative. For example, it offers chat, presence, annotations, integrations with task managers and Slack, screen recordings, audio messages, live co-browsing and video chat.

“Most web products will become a multiplayer experience in the coming years,” says Nimrod Priell, Cord’s CEO and co-founder. “We already see it happening: Figma reached four million users in four years and decimated Adobe, Invision and Sketch to become the dominant prototyping design app – in major part thanks to its built-in collaboration. If Figma is the ‘Google Docs of design,’ we empower every product to become the Google Docs of their respective industries.”

Jan Hammer, partner at Index Ventures, adds: “We like that Cord adds to existing apps – it’s not yet another solution customers will have to adopt, it’s a solution inside what they’re already used to. Eventually, we believe SaaS tools will ship with Cord straight out of the box.”

Cord was founded in 2020 by Priell, a former Facebook product manager, and Jackson Gabbard, an early Facebook engineer.

Along with the funding, Cord has also announced a partnership with Typeform, a web form and survey platform. Typeform’s 120,000 customers will now be able to use Cord’s collaborative features when they create forms filled out by more than 50 million people per month.

SquadPal Finds Friends

Like Cord, SquadPal is up for action in the world of remote working. It was founded last year.

The startup wants to recreate the social life of remote teams on its social community app. It does this by offering asynchronous games, competitions or challenges.

In a brief blog post, the firm offered thanks for the investment to RLC Partner Jair Paula Jr; serial angel Charlie Songhurst; PriceMatch co-founder Raphael Theron; Heroes co-founder Riccardo Bruni; Ravelin co-founder Nick Lally; Divido co-founder Christer Holloman; Spotify ex-product director Martin Gould; and Foundrs & Heights co-founder Dan Murray-Serter.

SquadPal was founded by Robinson Nouveau, Mehdi Benbrahim and Harshit Jain. Their experience includes product development and analytics for notable companies – such as Amazon, Microsoft, Babylon Health and Vodafone.

According to the tech startup’s website, its clients include PayPal, Uber and Amazon.

Antony Peyton
Antony Peyton is the Editor of eWeek UK and has 17 years' journalism and writing experience. His career has taken him to China, Japan and the UK - covering tech, fintech and business. Follow on Twitter @TonyFintech.

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