No one can deny the opportunity that financial investments can yield, yet at the same time so many people are not investing their money. They feel disconnected from the companies they invest in, and are overall scared by the whole process. For these reasons, Stash is on a mission to bring everyone to invest in companies that speak to them. You don’t need to be rich or even wear a suit! With Stash, all you need, is 5 dollars and to believe in a company.
David Ronick, CEO, answers the big questions for AlleyWatch about why everyone should be an investor.
Tell us about the product or service.
Stash is an app that makes it easy for everyone to invest. With Stash, you can choose investments based on your interests, beliefs and goals, so you can invest in what matters to you. Believe it pays for companies to treat LGBT employees with fairness and respect? Choose “Equality Works.” Want to follow one of the most successful investors in the world? Invest in “Roll with Buffett” for a slice of Berkshire Hathaway. These are just a few of the investments you can make with Stash. Opening an account takes only two minutes and a smartphone, and you can invest as little as $5, so it’s not scary or expensive. The Stash advisor provides personalized investment recommendations, to help guide you. And Stash is social, so you can share your investment ideas with friends.
How is it different?
In creating Stash, we took inspiration from the weight loss industry. We want to make it easy for people to take that first step and build good habits for the long-term. Unlike traditional financial advisors, we don’t require a big account balance to start investing. With Stash, you can invest with as little as $5; we do that by offering fractional shares of stocks and funds. We also have low, transparent fees, and do not charge any commissions.
While many online brokerages have lower minimums than traditional brokers, they don’t provide much in the way of advice. This isn’t ideal for inexperienced investors who don’t have enough knowledge of the market to pick their own investments. Stash has not only named and organized investments in ways that are more relatable; we also provide investment advice to help you understand what you’re investing in. And we’re different from “robo advisors” because with Stash, you choose what to invest in; you’re not handing your money over to a black box.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
There is a huge untapped opportunity. Fifty-two percent of Americans don’t invest, and they’re missing out on what has historically been one of the best ways to build a secure financial future. When you look at millennials, who tend to be early adopters of mobile technology, that number jumps to 74 percent.
What is the business model?
We charge a subscription fee of $1 per month. Once your account balance reaches $5,000, we switch to 0.25% per year.
What inspired you to start this business?
My co-founders are from finance, and I have a background in consumer products. We got together to talk about the future of investing, and it struck us that our nieces and nephews in their 20s don’t invest. As we talked to more and more people, and researched the market, we heard the same comments again and again: “I know I should invest, but I don’t”; “It’s confusing”; “I think I need a lot of money to start”; and “I have no idea what to do.” It became clear that most people who don’t invest find it confusing, expensive and unrelatable. When we heard that 100 times in a row from different people, we realized that we were on to something and that there was a big need that wasn’t being met.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
One critical next step for us is to launch an Android version of the Stash app.
If you could be put in touch with one investor in the New York community who would it be and why?
We are fortunate enough to know a lot of investors in New York. One of my favorites is Ben Lerer of LererHippeau. They were an early investor in Venmo, which bridged the gap between finance and social, and made an app experience people want to spread the word about.
Why did you launch in New York?
What better place to launch an investing service than the finance capital of the world? New York also has a rapidly growing and thriving tech community that we’re proud to be a part of. For example, I’m a TechStars NY founder, and we all make it a point to help each other out.
What is your favorite fall activity in NYC?
Watching the Giants with my boys, like I did with my Dad.