Pioneering robo advice investment platform Stockspot is hoping to strengthen its position in the market after securing $3 million in a funding round led by ETF Securities founder Graham Tuckwell and Alium Capital.
The latest investment, which brings Stockspot’s total funding raised to $5 million, also included entrepreneur Danny Bhandari and H2 Ventures founders Toby and Ben Heap, who are existing shareholders in the business.
Named as one of the top 50 startups in Australia and New Zealand in 2016, Stockspot has attracted “over 25,000 users and subscribers” whose investments range from $2000 to over $1 million, according to founder and chief executive Chris Brycki.
“Stockspot is a digital investment advisor and what we do is help people get good investment advice,” Byrcki tells StartupSmart.
“People come to our website and [answer] a series of questions about their personal goals, time frames and when they need cash. Based on those answers, we help them get access to a portfolio that helps them reach those goals.”
Brycki plans to use Stockspot’s latest investment to grow its current team of eight to about 15, while also investing in product development and advertising to reach even more investors.
Initially aimed at younger users, Brycki says he’s been surprised by Stockspot’s appeal in other market segments.
“When I started the product I always thought it was something that was great for younger people … what surprised me the most was actually the uptake from the older generation,” he says.
“I’m always surprised when someone in their 70s or 80s signs up, often from a regional town in Australia.”
Brycki believes this is an indication of how quickly “digital adoption is spreading across generations”.
“Over the next five to ten years, a whole lot of financial services that people used to access face-to-face, with an advisor or in a bank branch, will go online … our vision is we want to be the leader of this in terms of investment advice,” he says.
How Stockspot found its investors
“It’s always a bit random how you end up meeting investors,” Brycki says, but selecting the right investors to partner with has taken careful consideration.
Brycki believes the investors Stockspot has brought onboard will be a powerful strategic force for the startup over the next decade with all of them sharing “a very long-term view” of the deal.
Like many other entrepreneurs, Brycki found himself answering questions from investors that focused on his vision and the future of his company —“where we see the business in five or ten years” — as well as queries about “what our philosophy is on investing” and “what our strategy is to finding customers”.
For Brycki, this longer-term focus was a critical factor in selecting which investors to partner with because thinking five to 10 years ahead is essential “to build a really great wealth management business”.
Brycki met Bhandari three to four years ago and says they clicked instantly because of his “trading and investing background” and understanding of “how technology can impact financial markets”.
Brycki met some of the other investors more recently, including Tuckwell.
“He’s a pioneer in the sort of investments that we recommend which is ETFs [exchange-traded funds],” says Brycki.
He believes Tuckwell invested because he liked Stockspot’s investment philosophy and “how we were going about doing business”.
“Different types of investors are invested in different things and often those different things will give you clues about whether they’re aligned with your business and your vision,” says Brycki.
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