Today Stockr, a social network aimed at the investment community, announced it has closed $1.5 million in seed funding from Personal Capital, The Doyle Investment Group, and Adam Townsend, and will officially launch its website at the Finovate conference in New York City tomorrow. The platform acts as a one-stop aggregator of real-time information for public companies and industries, giving users the ability to comment and share their expertise and insights. The company plans to use the funding to staff itself with skilled engineers and build out additional features.
Stockr gives investors, traders and public companies a place to connect, share information, and voice their views, something co-founder and CEO Vinny Jindal, a former Wall Street analyst, felt needed to be improved in the industry. ”My co-founders and I all love the stock market, love trading stocks. And we realized that trading is an inherently social activity. The best ideas usually come from having good information and having a group of people you trust that hopefully have knowledge in the industry to help you think through whether or not you should invest in the company you’re looking at. The places discussing stocks online were limited in their ability to cater to a high quality conversation,” Jindal commented in an interview.
Stockr has company profiles for the public companies currently listed on the U.S. stock exchange, and users can view a news feed that aggregates news pertinent to the company and industry from a list of 400 news sources. It will also allow users to create a company page for international public companies from around the world.
Jindal said by requiring users to sign in with Facebook, they’re eliminating the spam and anonymity associated with existing finance message boards. “When you use your real name you tend to say things you can stand behind,” Jindal added. “Some of the advantages of Stockr compared to existing message boards is first that of authenticity, you have a different conversation when you know who you’re talking to. And you have a different quality of conversation, verses on a message board.”
The company has a few different ideas for monetizing the social network, with the most obvious being the route many social networks go, targeted ads. In addition, they hope to incorporate features that allow individuals to cash in on their expertise and opinions by having users pay to follow them to gain access to their content. Other ideas involve eventually incorporating a trading platform or providing lead generation of e-trading brokerages and putting investment relations professionals in touch with investors.
A social network for investment professionals is nothing new, and competitors include StockTwits, which operates on a freemium model, and Covestor, which provides users with access to the financial modeling strategy of managers for a monthly subscription. Where Stockr hopes to gain traction is by bringing together a wide-array of professionals and giving them the tools to access timely information, share their expertise, ask questions, and make smart investment decision on a platform that doubles as a promotional tool for investment experts and public companies alike.
“What helps Stockr stand out is that we give you the greatest number and diversity of social tools to express yourself and on the other hand allow people to specifically curate the people they want to bring into their investment. Having that broad social toolbox allows people to have a richer experience and allows constituencies that don’t have a voice on the net, like public companies, to have that,” Jindal added.
The company will look to develop and launch a native mobile app in the near future, something the company recognizes as critical for stock brokers, and will add LinkedIn and Google+ integration. The company’s ambition is to become a go-to source for investment information, and tomorrow’s launch will prove whether they can replicate Facebook’s success in the investment world.