Just ask TrakInvest. The virtual social equity trading platform teachers users stock investing in a risk-free environment, and tackles information asymmetry. In Part 1 of our TrakInvest series, we speak to CEO and founder, Bobby Bhatia. He shares how TrakInvest started, and 3 ways the startup uses Blockchain.
Founded in 2013, the startup lets users learn the ropes of investing with risk-free trading. “Imagine a simulated environment that you can trade and follow the top traders. You can also get certified and accredited on the platform. This includes getting a global online trading certificate on the platform,” shares Bobby Bhatia, CEO and founder of TrakInvest.
With 25 years’ experience in private equity and financial services industry, the financial veteran was former Head of Principal Investments in AIG for the APAC region.
How does TrakInvest work?
First, users sign up on TrakInvest’s app or website. Then, the platform gives users virtual currency to make mock investments in real companies via stock exchanges around the world.
This also makes use of comprehensive analytical reports of over 12,000 companies, in partnership with Thomson Reuters. On top of that, 2,200 companies listed on the Shanghai and Shenzhen Stock Exchange are available in English. As of March 2017, TrakInvest recorded 100,000 users on its platform.
TrakInvest’s accolades include partnerships with government entities in Oman, India, and the Siam Commercial Bank. And under its belt, universities like NUS and the Indian Institute of Science to name a few. The social equity trading platform also provides blockchain solutions and services under the State General Reserve Fund of Oman.
A learning community where sharing is rewarded
Trakinvest uses a learn-share-earn model and promotes a learning community. It provides real-time, shared trading activity, so users can follow or “Trak” top performers.
And that’s not all – you also win cash or sponsored prizes, internships and real-world job opportunities.
“If people are producing good ideas and trading ideas, we should actually reward the individuals,” says Bobby.
The future is Blockchain
In 2017, the company tapped into Blockchain technology and pursued its very own ICO.
$6 billion via Blockchain within an 8-week fundraising process. And out of this amount, $1 billion came from VCs in terms of capital deployment in blockchain company.
Bobby tells us that among the 15,000 contributors, 90% were virtual connections or people whom he had not been acquainted with. On top of that, 70% of contributers were under 30!
So how does TrakInvest make use of Blockchain? Bobby shares 3 use cases:
1. Tokenising reputational systems
TrakInvest rewards savvy investors who share their investment track record on the Blockchain-based platform.
“If you typed in ‘Apple’ or ‘Microsoft’ on our platform for example, it will tell you who’s doing [good investments] in those companies. Let’s consider how Person X is doing fantastic in Apple,” explains Bobby.
Naturally, you’d want to keep tabs on said person to emulate his or her successful investment trends. But what happens if you don’t live in the same country? That’s when you make use of the platform’s “Trak” function.
“What that means is every time Person X trades, buys, or sells a stock, you get a real-time update, which you can either observe or replicate. [TrakInvest pays Person X] based on how good his or her information and track record is.”
2. Tokenising certifications
“We have a very young population in Asia. And this young population is educated, but at times, unemployed, and there are different reasons why people find it difficult to connect to the right opportunity. One of them is the ability to validate [your educational qualifications],” says Bobby.
“If you studied at a university in a third-tier city in India, we’re putting that certification on the blockchain so it can be easily validated.”
3. Tokenising data ownerships (robo-advisory product)
“The third part of our business is creating high-grade, institutional-grade analytics. Some of the analytics are produced by our algorithms, and [others] crowdsourced with all the people who are trading.
Let’s say, you have an interest in healthcare in Singapore, technology in the US, and the financial sector in India. Our algorithm will search for the best traders, and create a robo-advisory product for you.”
But it doesn’t stop there. TrakInvest believes in rewarding users who provide investment data. Bobby shares:
“Our view is: if you’re paying $100 to TrakInvest, for example, 80% of those earnings should go back to the customer who contributed that data from which, the robo-advisory product is available.”
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