An Australian app that helps everyday people invest their money into socially responsible companies has launched publicly after almost two years of incubation.
Goodments, created by husband-and-wife team Tom Culver and Emily Taylor, was released to the Apple App Store last week to coincide with the TechCrunch Startup Battlefield even held in Sydney.
Taylor said the startup spent the last six months, the majority of which was in the H2 accelerator, to design and intensively test the software with “socially conscious millennials”.
“We wanted Goodments to feel more like a lifestyle app than an investment one. The whole experience is designed to feel refreshingly non-financial.”
The prioritisation of social responsibility and sustainability over pure financial returns is reflected when the user creates their profile. A short questionnaire is presented to figure out the person’s values and morals, and that data is put through a machine learning engine to match up to companies that best fit those attributes.
The founders are squarely aiming the concept at the younger generation.
“Millennials are the most socially conscious generation we’ve ever seen. With many governments de-prioritising sustainability initiatives, 76% of millennials are looking to business as the force for sustainable change,” said Culver.
Upon entering the H2 winter accelerator in April, Culver — a former ANZ wealth manager — told Business Insider that he came up with the Goodments concept during the reign of conservative prime minister Tony Abbott.
“It was during the [Tony] Abbott years, when I realised that governments don’t see themselves accountable for the future of our planet and actually it’s corporations who are the most incentivised to behave more sustainably,” he said.
He was left in personal turmoil that the financial advice he was giving to his own clients was no longer aligned to his own beliefs — that investment in sustainable companies was more profitable in the long run.
Aside from the altruism, the startup believes the app makes business sense, with millennials having money to invest but not knowing where to go.
“Millennials are the generation with the most spending power, wielding over $3 trillion globally and set to inherit $24 trillion in the next decade in Australia,” the company stated, quoting figures from UBS.
Goodments Lite is now available on iOS only, and provides the value-matching engine to allow users to see which companies they should invest in. A full-scale Goodments is planned for “early 2018”, which will allow purchase of local and international shares within the app.