Q&A- Startups

7 Questions with Michel Jacquemai (meetinvest AG)

1. Who are you?

meetinvest is a free financial social media platform that empowers retail investors with a toolkit to invest like a professional. meetinvest links individuals with like-minded people to exchange ideas, share experiences and connect on the topic of investing.

2. Which services do you sell and who are your competitors?

meetinvest services are for free. The toolkit provides our members with knowledge in a simplified way: what, how and when to invest like a professional. Specifically, this includes a stock selection tool screening 68,000 stocks worldwide (in 128 countries and 238 exchanges) and the identification of matching stocks based on a set criteria and strategy, including those of 14 gurus and more than 20 of their strategies. meetinvest also has a back-testing tool back to January 2000 to show hypothetical past performances of different strategies. Furthermore, meetinvest also provides a social media part for like minded individuals to connect and exchange ideas about investing, including on 800 bespoke investment topics from stocks to real estate, from art to coins, from watches to wine, from stamps to classic cars. Other somewhat similar services like Stockopedia who charge money are interesting platforms but target only the 1% professional market players out there. Our mantra is simplicity so we speak to the other 99% out there, and do this at no costs. The fact that you can’t trade through meetinvest demonstrates that our service is independent, as a user can do the trading with whomever he/she wants.

3. How did you get your start-up idea and how did you finance your start-up?

The company is privately funded by the two founders, Maria and Michel. Circa CHF 500’000 has been invested to date.

The idea came from a need of co-founder Maria. This is the story also displayed on our platform:

“…I recently reached a point in my life when I, like many others, started to think about investing. I’m no millionaire, but I’ve saved some money for a while now and I don’t want to lose it. I want to make my money work for me, but how do I know what, when, and how to do it? I’ve never considered myself a numbers person, but upon reflection I realized that we are all numbers people when it comes to our personal finances. So, I started by reading the financial section of my newspaper, and although it all sounded very impressive I didn’t understand much. Then, I bought some investment books, talked to friends, and even spoke with a few financial advisors. The problem was that most of the time the only answers I received were heavy on the financial jargon and light on simple practical explanations.

Going through the published works of the likes of Buffett, Templeton, and O’Neil you get a wealth of information, but it can be very daunting. Then I discovered Susan Levermann. She has been very successful as well, but she doesn’t sound as scary. In fact, she provides almost exactly what I’ve been looking for all this time: a how-to guide for investing myself. I brought my new find to Michel Jacquemai, a veteran of the financial industry and to whom I go for help. He is not easily impressed, but after going through the book, he too agreed with me that it is an easy and highly informative read.

We realized that this is not just something for me, but also for everyone out there with the desire to understand how investment experts pick the right stocks, and who want to share their experience with like-minded people. With this in mind, meetinvest.com, our content-filled financial social media platform, was born. We founded meetinvest on August 13th, 2014 and quickly grew from zero to a team of 20 plus highly enthusiastic programmers, financial analysts, quants, art directors, creatives, relationship managers, lawyers, and copy writers. Our international team consists of natives from Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Russia, Venezuela, United Kingdom and the United States. Together we have been working day and night to build the first global financial social media platform: meetinvest.com…”

 4. What were the biggest challenges in starting?

The biggest challenge was and still is convincing potential users that our services are for free. Most people who have an interest in meetinvest can’t believe that such a valuable toolkit is given out for free as there is the general perception that the financial industry does nothing without compensation. Hence a financial social media platform with such great useful tools at no cost is suspicious at first. Thankfully our increasing number of registered users confirms that we are convincing to them eventually. To further enhance our credibility we will soon showcase our live portfolios on our platform in which we’ve invested now more than USD 1 million of founders personal money since the launch of meetinvest to show that we really believe in the strategies we have on meetinvest.

5. What areas within FinTech do you personally find most interesting and why?

Clearly stock investing, as it requires more than “just” technology to create an attractive product alternative. Crowd lending for example, you basically create a platform cutting out the middleman and can be copied by literally everybody. For stock investing by FinTech you have to come up with something that really adds value beyond index funds investing which is what meetinvest does: A stock selection tool screening 68,000 stocks worldwide based on set criteria and strategies that have been very successful over many years.

6. What opportunities do you see for FinTech start-ups in the DACH region, and how can we help to accelerate it?

FinTech is not really bound to regions or countries. This trend is global and is disrupting the financial industry in many ways. If you think about how many things were made obsolete through smart phones (e.g. calculator, alarm clock, camera, notepad, email, GPS, etc.) you can only imagine what will happen to the financial sector.

Organizing such events can definitely spread the word and accelerate things.

7. What tip would you like to give FinTech entrepreneurs in the region?

Only invest time and money in things that make services 5-10x easier, faster, better for users. Else it might be a waste of money and time.