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Hedge fund giant Paulson Snoops on ex-Virgin Money chief’s app

Written by on 29/07/2021

An investment fund established by one of the most renowned investors in the US is ploughing £15m into the money-saving app founded by Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia, the former Virgin Money chief.

Sky News has learnt that Snoop, which launched 15 months ago, is close to announcing an equity injection from Paulson & Co, which at one stage ranked among Wall Street’s most successful hedge funds.

Overseen by John Paulson, the firm recently converted itself a private office and no longer manages money for external investors.

Hedge Fund manager John Paulson attends the men's singles final match between Roger Federer of Switzerland and Novak Djokovic of Serbia at the U.S. Open Championships tennis tournament in New York, September 13, 2015
Image: John Paulson is one of the most renowned investors in the US

Mr Paulson established the firm during the 1990s but sprang to prominence – and fabulous wealth – by placing a huge bet on the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage market prior to the 2008 financial crisis.

Nevertheless, the addition of such a prominent backer will be a huge boost to Snoop and Dame Jayne-Anne, who since leaving Virgin Money has assembled a portfolio of business interests – including as executive chair of Snoop.

Snoop uses machine-learning to track consumers’ bills and spending patterns, using the data to provide money-saving tips.

The app is designed to exploit the era of open banking, a new framework that enables consumers to utilise their personal data to generate savings from utilities and other service providers.

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Since launch, it has been downloaded 300,000 times.

City sources said Snoop’s latest fundraising would give it a post-money valuation of £47m, but added that its rapid growth meant future rounds of funding could value the business much more richly.

Philanthropist Sir Lloyd Dorfman, after being knighted for services to Philanthropy and the Arts, at an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London. 16/11/2018
Image: Backers include Sir Lloyd Dorfman

Paulson’s investment completes Snoop’s Series A round, according to insiders.

Last December, Sky News revealed that the listed price comparison site Moneysupermarket had made a tentative approach to buy Snoop, although the talks failed to progress.

That approach came as Dame Jayne-Anne finalised a £10m crowdfunding for her venture, which she argues can save the average British household £1500-a-year.

Paulson & Co’s investment in Snoop will take the total amount raised by the app to more than £30m, with other notable backers including Salesforce Ventures, the former hedge fund executive Pierre Legrange, and the Travelex founder Sir Lloyd Dorfman.

Dame Jayne-Anne, who also serves as the chair of HM Revenue & Customs, believes there is a £12bn total saving for consumers penalised for their loyalty and apathy.

The latest funding will be used partly for international expansion.

Snoop declined to comment on Thursday.

 Sky News

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