By Dennis Clemente
If there is an award for the Best Dressed Meetup Group among startups, the Fintech Startup meetup last March 6 could win it, hands down. The five startups and the attendees were dressed up for success at the meetup held at Dechert LLC in a gleaming tower overlooking Bryant Park. It’s the finance world, after all.
Host Jon Zanoff did not hide his surprise about the huge turnout, even if a snowstorm was forecast for that night. The event quickly went on its business of introducing the startups pitching that night—Vestorly (vestorly.com), EquaMetrics (equametrics.com), Seed Invest (seedinvest.com), Enigma (enigma.io) and TradeEmbark (early stage startup).
Founded in 2011, Vestorly connects people with an investment advisor through trusted family and friends on linkedin.com. It’s a slight departure from previous articles written about the company connecting to various social media.
Founders Ralph Pahlmeyer and Justin Wisz envisioned the company as an alternative to the broken state of financial services and how it’s ripe for positive change.
How is it different from talking to any investment advisor?
Based on experience, the founders have observed how people put their savings with a large bank, because it’s a brand they know, not thinking they will end up with brokers or advisors who sell them investment products not suited to them.
Through its “referral” system, Vestorly sees the pairing of trusted investment advisors with people who really want to make a good investment hinging not on testimonials or endorsements, but on much more: “trust” equity.
What do you think of algorithms for amateurs trading stocks and similar assets?
The next presenter, EquaMetrics demonstrated its web application, Rizm, to make trading as easy for a beginner as it is broad for an advanced trader.
Co-founder Christopher Ivey (other founder is Amir Tarighat) demonstrated Rizm’s easy drag-and-drop functionality that should help users create, back test, simulate and launch complex trading algorithms without any programming knowledge. It tests against historical data and real-time data, but it’d be interesting to see how it competes with professional traders.
Coming from a previous talk he gave on the JOBS Act, Ryan Feit, co-founder of SeedInvest talked this time about the investor side of his business.
Founded in 2012, SeedInvest is an equity-based crowdfunding platform that connects accredited investors to high-quality start-ups and small businesses seeking funding.
Where other crowdfunding platforms are busy, SeedInvest seems more concerned about quality over quantity, preferring to filter out 98% of the noise by hand-selecting only the top opportunities for investors to evaluate.
SeedInvest claims it’s the only funding platform formed solely by professional investors which allow them to evaluate investment opportunities easier.
“We work with venture capital firms and angel groups,” says Feit who also intimated that he wouldn’t mind working with angel investor David Rose when asked about it by FinLitTV’s Suraj Jain (finlittv.com).
Talk about getting funding, the last company to present Enigma’s Marc Da Costa opened its presentation with a reference to its $1 million seed funding for riding on the crest of big data.
Today, Enigma is said to have 100,000-plus public datasets that include bills of lading, aircraft ownership, lobbying activity, real estate assessments and government spending contracts. It plans expand its user base by pitching to companies in media, finance consulting, legal and academic industries.
Jesse Podell of TradeEmbark also took the podium to discuss briefly his early-stage startup aimed at helping individual investors make informed decisions.