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'They Would Never Have To Leave': Invstr Aims To Bring All Of Your Financial Services To One App

'They Would Never Have To Leave': Invstr Aims To Bring All Of Your Financial Services To One App

Investing is scary. The idea of placing hard-earned money into “risky” assets is daunting, leading many to avoid the practice completely.

For Kerim Derhalli, the founder and CEO of Invstr, those fears are unjustified. 

Invstr is changing the way that people look at trading: the company's combination of education, paper trading and brokerage introduction are meant to eliminate the worries of new investors, Derhalli told Benzinga.

The company’s app takes users through a strategic learning process that breaks down the world of finance and investing. After a quick introduction, people are given a $1 million practice dollars to learn with in private, fantasy-style stock leagues.

Once players are confident enough to start trading with real money in real markets, Invstr allows them to get started.

A Chance To 'Revolutionize' Financial Services

Prior to founding Invstr, Derhalli spent a lot of time in the financial industry, including a stint as the global head of e-commerce for Deutsche Bank (NYSE: DB) after the internet bubble burst in the early 2000s.

The experience after the crash sparked an interest in the tech industry for Derhalli: he saw communication services and social media as potential opportunities.

“I was very aware of the potential that we could use mobile technology to revolutionize the way that financial services are delivered," he told Benzinga.

Understanding the imminent impact that mobile technology was going to have on finance, Derhalli said he decided to launch Invstr.

The Problems Invstr Wants To Solve

Invstr’s goal is to eliminate three main issues for investors: a lack of knowledge, a lack of confidence and a perceived lack of money, the CEO said.

The solution to these problems has nothing to do with brokerage commissions, he said.

"They’re not the problem that stop people from investing,” he said. “This rush to offer everything for free on the trading side is nice, but not very relevant.”

For Derhalli, the real solution to breaking down a new investor’s fear factor lies in education, practice and gamification — the three pillars of Invstr.

“What we have specialized in is building a mobile-first financial education and investment app that enables people to play to build confidence, learn to build knowledge and invest to build wealth.”

Playing To Win

A key component of the company’s business model is gamification.

Invstr users have access to Fantasy Finance, a paper trading platform for competitively trading stocks. People can compete on the Invstr app against others across the world or, similar to fantasy football, in private leagues with family and friends.

"The idea behind Fantasy Finance is that is it gives everyone an experience of the financial markets, investing in financial markets and streaming real-time data into decisions," Derhalli said.

The portfolio management game offers over 3,000 instruments, equities, currencies, cryptocurrencies, bonds, commodities and other instruments in which people can invest with a fake $1 million.

Invstr offers prizes for successful Fantasy Finance players. For example, players who finish in the top 10 at the end of this month will win a cash voucher to help kickstart or grow a real investment portfolio, with the top 10 winners sharing $1,000.


The market of educational and practice-based financial services can seem saturated. How does Invstr separate itself from the bunch? 

“We think that these three issues — the building of confidence, knowledge and wealth — is what differentiates us completely from any other fintech platform out there,” Derhalli said.

Invstr focuses on that actual investment process, in contrast to fintech brokerages that simply offer free transactions without any education.

“There are a lot of platforms out there that are built by very smart engineers who think that investing is based on buying and selling things," he said. 

"Investing is a process. Just offering someone a transactional service, whether it’s free or expensive or premium deluxe, is not sufficient to engage people."

Plans For The Future

While Invstr now offers education and practice, the company plans to soon add full-time trading.

“We want to own as much of the client experience as possible. We want to help people as much as possible,” Derhalli said. “So yes, we plan to become regulated in the U.S., and we also plan on offering other products.”

In a tech climate where people can do seemingly anything from their fingertips, the CEO said convenience is the barometer of success.

“The thing that people really value is convenience. So we want to make the experience on Invstr as convenient as possible.”

The potential sectors Invstr could wade into include debit cards, bank accounts, brokerage accounts, wealth accounts, insurance and lending, he said.

“We can offer an experience that has the fun component, the education component, the social component and a comprehensive transaction ability," Derhalli said.

“They would never have to leave Invstr.”

Related Links:

How A British Fintech Startup Is Leveraging AI For Real Estate Investors

Option Alpha Founder Says Platform Will Be Major Player In Trading

Photo courtesy of Invstr.

Posted-In: InvstrFintech Education Psychology Startups Exclusives Interview General Best of Benzinga


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