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Public: The Investment App Connecting Millennials With 'One Of The Biggest Drivers Of Prosperity'

Public: The Investment App Connecting Millennials With 'One Of The Biggest Drivers Of Prosperity'

As a new generation of Americans advance in the workforce, a new approach to investing will be needed to help young workers achieve their financial goals.

With the rise of commission-free brokerages, the investing landscape has changed dramatically. The absence of commission fees and account minimums has made the U.S. stock market accessible to millions for whom it was not previously possible.

Brokerage apps have become a favorite among college students and newly employed grads with little money available to invest. The simplicity and ease of use of these apps has simplified what was once a seemingly daunting task. The financial crisis of 2008 and the recession that followed certainly deterred many young Americans who are now of working age from the markets as a whole.

Years later, films such as "The Big Short" depicted the ethical and legal recklessness of the financial services industry, reinforcing a negative perception of the markets.

It's a problem that Public App Co-CEO Jannick Malling acknowledged exists among today’s investors.

"It kind of painted this picture of the stock market being a super scary place, which, in our opinion, isn’t really true," he told Benzinga.

‘We think through the course of mankind it has been one of the biggest drivers of prosperity in the history of this country." 

You can check out platforms like Public App at the fifth annual Benzinga Global Fintech Awards on Nov. 19 in New York City. 

Share-Slicing: A Solution For Out-Of-Reach Equities 

While caution represented one obstacle to investors, accessibility was another.

It's ironic they're called the public markets, Malling said: "We all know that 85% of the stock market is owned by the richest 10% of the population."

It's a disconnect that Public App, formerly known as a Matador, is seeking to address. The company is aiming to build a brand that allows everyone to be an investor. 
Many individuals are not only cautious about investing, but believe they need a large amount of money to start, Malling said — leading them to wait until their 40s. 

"The problem with that is that you’re kind of missing out on 20 years of compound investment opportunity," he said. 

With shares of mega cap companies such as Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL) and, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) trading at over $1,000, many investors lack the funds to buy these stocks even though they are considered by many to be staples of any portfolio.

Owning the top fifteen stocks in the S&P 500 requires thousands of dollars and is not feasible for many, Malling said. 

This predicament inspired Public to build out a "share-slicing" engine, allowing users to invest dollar amounts in certain stocks as opposed to buying entire shares.

This makes it possible for anyone to own stock in the companies they want, even with limited capital.

A Social Layer

Public App's goal is to build upon a standard commission-free brokerage and add a "social layer" to the app that Jannick likens to a multiplayer gaming experience. 

While the idea of a community-based experience has existed in gaming and social media for some time, it has now wholly been adopted in the investing world.

Attempts on Reddit and Facebook groups have proved unsuccessful at instilling trust, Malling said. 

Since Public is a brokerage, each user is verified, eliminating the problem of bot and spam accounts frequently seen on social media.

The app allows users to follow others, view their trades and exchange ideas.

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Photo courtesy of Public.

Posted-In: commission-free Jannick Malling Public AppFintech News Exclusives Interview Best of Benzinga


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