Hart Lambur and Yinon Ravid spent more than a collective decade in finance, where they had access to a resource most of us can never tap: The trading floor.
The hidden value in the floor, they explain, was that it served as a sounding board.
“We were able to ask people, ‘What do you think of this stock? What do you think of emerging markets?'” remembers Ravid. “From our perspective, it wasn’t that they were financial professionals, but that there was a place to talk about this stuff with people you trust.”
Now, they’re creating a sounding board for the rest of us in the form of their online investing tool, Openfolio.
The site, founded in 2013, just announced it’s raised $US1.3 million in a new funding round led by FinTech Collective.
Here’s how it works: Once you sign up (for free) and link your brokerage accounts, your information is aggregated into networks segmented by characteristics such as sex, age, industry, and even college. You can view the progress of these networks, or you can follow individual investors and see everything from what they’re holding to how their investments are performing.
Essentially, you can see how your investments stack up compared to the people around you.
Openfolio was created when the cofounders realised how tricky they found personal investing, even with their backgrounds in finance. “Right now, you’re reading articles, fending for yourself,” says Ravid. As part of the Openfolio community, he explains, “you can rely on the people you trust to show you what you care about.”
Lambur adds that millennials in particular tend to value their social circles’ input over the opinions of experts. “When you go to choose a restaurant,” he says, “you don’t pick up Zagat. You go to Yelp or Foursquare to see what the people around you think.”
The site doesn’t reveal dollar amounts, but rather progress in terms of percentages. For instance, here’s a shot of my network’s performance, with the flat blue line at the bottom representing me (who hasn’t yet hooked up any accounts).
Or, you can check out an individual’s activity. For example, cofounder Ravid:
Although Openfolio could be considered a robo-advisor since it’s an online-only investment platform, it doesn’t manage your investments for you, and it isn’t meant to be a hands-off tool. “That’s what’s different from Wealthfront or Betterment,” Lambur says. “They offer you a set-it-and-forget-it solution, but we’ll keep you engaged.”
It’s worth noting that Openfolio does assume a certain amount of knowledge on the part of the investor, highlighting the activity of individual stocks and funds that a 401(k)-only investor might find a little intimidating. In the future, they plan to build out the site in order to allow users to take action based on the feedback they have gotten, but currently, active, informed investors might find the site most useful.
A previous version of this post incorrectly stated that Openfolio raised an additional $US1.1 million.
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