An innovative business developed by a group of young entrepreneurs will bring investing to millennials at the tap of a phone.
“I have $50. Shall I go out to dinner, or shall I buy an investment?”
That’s how easy investing will be with the Sharesies, says founder and director Sonya Williams.
“At the time, I hadn’t invested before and I thought I’d like to, so I started asking around my friends, and found that they didn’t know how to either. I went onto websites to research, but I put it into the too-hard basket.”
Williams says she knew there was a lot happening to do with wealth in the millennial space. “But, as a beginner, it’s hard to get in if you don’t have the lingo and a bunch of money.”
She discussed investment as a way of growing wealth with her friends.
“We thought it would be cool to buy investments with small amounts of money. You could go out to dinner, or buy an investment… That’s how simple we wanted to make it.”
One of the co-founders, Leighton Roberts, started an investment club when he was 17, with 11 friends and family members.
Starting with an everyday bank account, he’d put $50 in each week. The investments grew to include a herd of cows, a commercial property, and the club now part-owns a company in the Philippines that takes manure from chicken farms and turns it into sustainable fertiliser.
One of the other Sharesies founders, CEO Brooke Anderson, managed the savings and investment portfolio at Kiwibank for four years. She saw first-hand that Kiwis didn’t have good habits around saving and investing, says Williams.
“We did customer development and market research. A hundred per cent of people wanted to be investors,” she says. But when the team asked why they weren’t investing, many said they didn’t have enough money, or didn’t know how to get started.
“We felt there was an opportunity to make investing more engaging and accessible. We did it so someone with $50 has the same investment opportunities as someone with $50,000.”
The business is largely self-funded, with support from the Fintech Accelerator that’s sponsored by Kiwbank and Xero, among others.
Sharesies has been raising money for its first investment, while building, designing and testing the product over the last few months. The beta version is launching for testing in the next week or so.
To sign up to test the beta version, go to www.sharesies.nz.
First published 27 August, 2017
By Brenda Ward
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