Written by: Ivy Exec
Ivy Exec met with Patrick Williams, a New York based entrepreneur with many successful startups under his purview for a conversation about his new endeavor, Vetr.
Investing in stocks can be a daunting and unnerving process for individuals looking to enter the market in order to expand their financial portfolio; a fact that is well documented. According to Bankrate, the financial publishing powerhouse, a big reason behind this trepidation is that most people do not understand basic financial constructs of investing. In fact, despite a recent resurgence of the U.S. stock market, more than half of Americans do not feel comfortable investing in stocks.
Vetr, a New York based fintech company, was founded with the goal of educating the public about investing by adapting crowdsourcing to evaluate, identify, and vet existing stocks.
As an online investment research platform, Vetr attributes the same process that has made everyday decisions such as selecting restaurants, movies, shelter, and even choosing doctors a more transparent and informative process.
The Vetr team is comprised of Wall Street insiders that are intrinsically connected to the financial industry, but found very little insights available to the modern day investor; a demographic that is more concerned with understanding the more simple tenets of personal investing than anything else.
The process to participate on Vetr is simple and streamlined. Users create an account on the company’s website to predict a stock’s price over a specific timeframe. The staff at Vetr collects all stock predictions from its users – and using a proprietary algorithm – rate the stock using a five star rating system.
Additionally, users can leverage many of Vetr’s other features including peer commentaries on stocks, a customized feed of analysis and ratings, and the ability to create a customized watch list to track prices, price changes, your target prices and crowd target prices for each security.
Ivy Exec: What Makes Vetr a Valuable Resource for Users?
Patrick Williams: It’s been well-documented, by both government and private research, that the ability of average people to predict the likelihood of future events when their insights are aggregated together outperforms the results of even the best professional analysts.
Our main objective is not to have users sign-in and trade stocks. We are more concerned with helping people become more productive and successful investors – introducing stock predictions to everyone and to be able to compare the crowd to the Wall Street analyst. We are essentially giving away financial information for free – most people that are offering this advice are charging 1% of a client’s overall net-worth per year.
There are a lot of conversations on the Next Generation Investor, a demographic interested in impact investing – especially when they considering how it impacts the environment and society. You can see this type of investor exists by going on Vetr and seeing the comments, analysis, and the most viewed and rated stocks. It’s a proof of concept. I think that if a Financial Advisor refers to Vetr in a meeting, they’ll be clued in to this demographic and be the most informed on how investors, especially the next-gen investor, is seeking to be informed about stocks.
IE: What are Your Company’s Growth Plans?
PW: Vetr is blazing trails in a relatively new area, so much of our efforts have been equal parts learning, product training and market education. We’re innovating in a nascent market so we’re spending a good deal of time with our customers learning about how they are using our product as well as teaching customers that this is indeed a new product category. Going forward, we will continue to focus on software and product innovation and an effort to expand our user base. We will continue to improve Vetr’s capabilities through software upgrades and launching a mobile app over the coming year. This includes performance improvements to speed and precision of our services as well as the addition of more capabilities.
IE: What Upcoming Company Products/Releases/Strategies are you Excited to Talk About?
PW: We are planning to grow our customized competitions in the higher education space – Vetr University Challenges.
The Vetr University Challenges involves students selecting multiple stocks and rating these stocks on the company’s platform. These selected stocks will be averaged and the calculation will inform the ranking and points of participants. Students earn points based on the percentile for the average return of the chosen stock as well as other action prompts provided by Vetr.
In planning for an expansion of these University Challenges, we are confident that we can get more universities involved and would like to eventually implement a traditional tier of regional, state, national and international competitions among universities. Through this competition, more young people will become educated on stocks and investing.
IE: What is the Common Denominator or Qualities Inherently Found Within Staff That You Hire?
PW: I’d say the common denominator would be “smarts”, or how people think versus their experience or what they know. As for the specific qualities, we are always looking for individuals that are willing to dream big, that have a track record of getting things done, and know how to have fun while working with others. I think it’s important that staff get along and that they’re able to combine this idea of hard work with being social with colleagues. We want to surround ourselves with people who not only share our vision, but culture and values too. I think you know the type of people I’m speaking about — team players that don’t take themselves too seriously and know how to have fun.
IE: What is the Most Important Quality That You Look for in Hiring a Leader?
PW: I think anyone that is looking to lead a team within a company should focus on leading from the front – literally leading the charge. They should seek to fully understand the people on their team and those working underneath them. It’s important that they see these individuals as colleagues as opposed to simply staff. This is the best way to energize your employees and better ensures that hey are happy in relation to their work.
IE: What do You Consider to be Your Biggest Challenge Against the Growth of Your Company?
PW: Attracting top talent to our company. We are always on the lookout for hiring incredibly talented people. The market opportunity is massive and we need the best people we can find to execute our plan and continue on our past success.
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