Learning how investing and the stock markets work can be challenging without practical experience at your fingertips. Many fear losing money which creates a barrier to entry and lack of education – but that’s where the app Invstr comes in. Canstar caught up with Kerim Derhalli, the Founder and CEO of Invstr to discover how this app is changing the game.
Q. Where did the concept of Invstr come from?
A. After a 30 year career in banking, I became passionate about financial literacy and the democratization of finance, especially for the younger generations. I wanted to share my knowledge of the markets with all, and make it fun and social for people to engage with the markets. When it comes to financial literacy, there is good news and bad news: the good news is that the majority of people do want to learn how to manage their money. The bad news is that many aren’t fluent in financial literacy tests. What is worse is that the people that should help them learn – parents and teachers – do not have the confidence or knowledge to teach them. Invstr helps to solve those problems.
Q. How does Invstr work?
A. Invstr is a financial education and investment app with a community of hundreds of thousands of users all over the world who want to become better investors.
We have three distinguishing beliefs at Invstr:
- Firstly, we are all natural investors and that we can all learn to invest in the same way that we learn to play a sport or a musical instrument.
- Secondly, Fintech isn’t just about finance or technology – it’s about people. So, everything we do on Invstr is geared around empowering individuals to build investing confidence, knowledge and wealth
- Thirdly, that investing isn’t an event. It’s a journey. And it doesn’t need to be a lonely journey. And that is why we have built a powerful collaborative community on Invstr.
Q. Do you need investment knowledge to be able to use the app?
A. We found that 75% of the users on Invstr had no knowledge or experience with investing, until they registered on Invstr.
People learn best by doing and playing. So, we have a game called Fantasy Finance where people can play the markets for free, with a virtual portfolio of 1 million dollars and at the same time learn the basics of portfolio management without taking any real risks.
We have an entire social network with social profiles, a feed, private groups, and direct messaging so that people can learn from each other and hear about stocks other people are investing in and why they are investing.
We have an Academy where people can go step by step through bite-sized lessons to learn everything they need to know about investing. This is written so anyone can understand, and we also have an audio version that people may listen to on the go.
Q. How does Invstr educate new investors?
A. We all love to play games! We also learn naturally by playing firstly on our own and then with friends. Then we go to school and get a teacher who tells us what to do. We mirror that natural learning experience on Invstr with Fantasy Finance, the social network, and the Academy.
Fantasy Finance is a portfolio management game that makes investing fun and exciting. It’s a way of experiencing all the thrills and spills of the market without losing any real money. In the process, we help people learn the basics of good investing – that investing is about generating a consistent return on a portfolio over time; that you need to be diversified and not overtrade to achieve that.
Fantasy Finance teaches everyone that investing is fun and that anyone can be an investor. People are naturally afraid of making mistakes and losing money. In Fantasy Finance you can make mistakes and learn from them without losing any real money. When you get those fears out of the way when you start to realise that investing is not that complex. That builds self-belief and the urge to get better.
We also educate our users through the community. Community is about having a shared purpose and common values. On Invstr everyone’s shared purpose is to help each other become a better investor. We get rave reviews not just about our great features but also about the quality of the community. About 1 in 3 team members at Invstr are actively involved with our community from day to day. Anyone anywhere in the world can send me a DM and ask me a question! Please don’t do it all at once!
If you think about it, the thing that helped human beings evolve to dominate the planet is our ability to communicate and share knowledge. The financial markets are also a game of survival! Having a big tribe, like the Invstr community, helping you spot trends or great investment opportunities is hugely powerful.
Q. What kind of investments can you implement on Invstr?
Q. Besides the monetary investment, is there a difference between Invstr and the share market?
A. In Fantasy Finance, the only thing that is different is the money. Everything else on Invstr is real. We have live streaming data feeds for over 3,000 financial instruments; 20,000 unique pieces of news per day; company fundamentals and sophisticated charting tools; and a live and highly engaged community of investors. When members are ready to invest they can open a real money brokerage account and start investing in the real world.
Q. What benefit does Invstr provide to experienced investors?
A. Invstr is a place where experienced and active investors can find a community to discuss market news, simulate a portfolio to track new investment opportunities, as well as discover the latest trends from the Gen Z community, given our big Gen Z and millennial demographic. We have users who are grandfathers discovering new stocks that are popular with high school students we have on the app. And vice versa. The younger generations are learning about new stocks from the older generations. In addition, Invstr provides multiple news sources, charting and technical capabilities, as well as a brokerage platform for active investors to invest their real money accounts.
Invstr is free to download on Apple or Google. To learn more, head to the invstr website.
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