The founder of 'Yo' has built an investing platform -- and it's coming to the UK

Yo appYoYo was actually a side project to Stox

When single-word messaging app ‘Yo’ flew to the top of download charts and was valued at a reported $US10 million last year, the app’s architect Or Arbel found himself living out the dream of entrepreneurs around the world.

But ‘Yo’ was actually just a side project that ended up taking over Arbel’s real work — building an online stockbroking platform.

For a little under a year Arbel was the chief technology officer of Stox.com, then in stealth mode.

The Israeli start-up wants to use slick design and social functions to get the Facebook-generation interested in shares and Arbel helped build its platform.

Arbel told Business Insider: “I left Stox, the serious and seriously amazing social stock trading platform, to focus on Yo, a crazy side project that went viral. But I’m still a board member and a shareholder at Stox and I am so proud of what [Stox co-founder] Roy Shaham and the team has accomplished.”

Stox has just raised $US8 million (£5.16 million) from Israeli venture capital firm Singulariteam, headed by ‘Yo’ co-founder Moshe Hogeg. (Hogeg also employed Arbel as a developer at his photo sharing start-up Mobli — small world.)

Now Stox, which is regulated in Cyprus, is planning to finally launch its product to the public, starting with the UK next month.

Stox homepageStoxStox wants to attract a new generation to investing with its design-heavy, social platform

Stox’s VP of marketing and product Elliot Hool told Business Insider UK the start-ups goal was to “demystify” the stock market for a new generation of investors. He said: “Stox is aspiration. I think people would love to be in the stock market but they see it as a bit of a closed club.”

The company is hoping that slick, Apple-inspired design, a simple platform and social features can attract a new crowd to investing. Like rival Israeli trading platform eToro, Stox allows customers to ‘follow’ each other, letting them see what trades they have made and how they’re performing.

But while eToro trades on its customers behalf, Stox lets people buy shares directly. Stox also hopes to attract long term investors as opposed to traders looking for “a quick buck”, Hool says.

Stox is entering a highly competitive market, with plenty of stockbrokers vying for business. We’ll see if the company blows up like ‘Yo’ did initially — or mimics its more recent performance.

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