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Nvestly Launches Social Investment Platform for the Average Person

The real-time platform is geared to Millennials who can use its social media features to share and compare returns with friends and other investors.

Startup Nvestly Co. is launching a new social investment platform allowing novices and experts to share information and track the performance of their portfolios in a single place.

Users can collaborate as well as compete on returns with friends, according to the release. They can also interact with investors and see what other top investors are holding.

Los Angeles-based Nvestly has been operating under the radar in beta with a small user base of invitation-only participants since March, but today the site will open up to the public.

“There are financial networks out there, but they are usually daunting for the average person,” said Otavio Dalarossa, the co-founder of Nvestly in an interview. While there are quite a few finance sites that offer social media approaches to investing, most are geared to traders, he says. Dalarossa, who  has a Master's degree in engineering from UCLA, started working on the platform last April. He previously worked at Capitol Group and Wilshire Associates in the private markets group. He hooked up with a friend -- they both were in an investment club together and in April both left their jobs to found Nvestly.

The real-time investment platform allows investors to pull in their portfolios from all five of the major US brokers, including Charles Schwab, E*Trade,  and TD Ameritrade. An investor can sign up for Nvestly and link up his Schwab account, for instance, says Dalarossa.

“We’re trying to surface information in our network that wasn’t shared before,” he says. On the investing side, users are able to show their portfolios and let others see the positions they hold.

Dalarossa says Nvestly is a portfolio-tracker like a Mint for investing. Nvestly uses Intuit technology to securely sync with the brokers. “We use bank-level encryption.” What if some users don’t feel comfortable connecting and showing their stock holdings? “We don’t force anybody to connect anything. Users have the option to do so.”

Nvestly will only display information in terms of percentage returns, so it will never show portfolio values or dollar amounts, he says.

“Some users are not comfortable showing anything. That is completely OK.” They can assign their profiles to private. And they have discretion over who can follow them, such as only their friends.

In that respect, Nvestly has security controls similar to Twitter and Instagram, according to Dalarossa. An investor can set his posts to private, and, as on Twitter, someone has to request to see them.

Nvestly says its dashboard performs more than 2,000 calculations to provide information on stocks, ETFs, options, and mutual funds. Investors can visualize how their portfolios are moving with the market, and where profitable trades are being made across Nvestly’s user base, according to the company announcement.

One drawback to social media sites is that users don’t know if the trades posted are really making money or not. “We noticed that a lots of investors post their latest trades on existing social media sites like Twitter and Stock Twits, but there’s no way of knowing if the information is correct or not. With Nvestly the trade is verified, making it reliable information,” says Chris Tung, CTO and co-founder of Nvestly, in the release.

Verifying returns
Nvestly also lets investors generate a historical track record for up to 10 years. “If you link up your TD Ameritrade account, we’ll give you two years of data, which is how much TD Ameritrade makes available to us. With a few minutes... you can see your track record from today to two years back,” says Tung. In addition, Nvestly normalizes cashflows, so that if someone puts in or pulls out cash, it doesn’t distort the returns, which is something Google Finance doesn’t do, he says, asserting that viewing information over an extended time period has not been available in the market.

To personalize each person’s performance, it generates a track record, which becomes the user’s  index, and that is compared to the S&P 500. The company plans to support other benchmarks in the future. “We also overlay your transactions on top of that track record,” says Dalarossa, noting this helps people visualize their investments. Investors can zoom in and out to see their transactions plotted as data points on top of their performance, helping them to recall why they bought stocks at a particular time. Nvestly also provides a portfolio beta calculation and shows the average holding period. In addition to those elements, it plans to add other risk functions, like the Sharpe Ratio.

With its social media approach, Nvestly is attracting Millennials, in the 25-to-35 age range, which was its goal from the get-go. “It really resonates with the Millenial group, who are young professionals who felt there wasn’t an investment platform for them, since they were only for traders,” says Dalarossa.

Though seasoned individuals are joining the site for some of the analytical features like historical  track record and "to showcase for their online investing presence,” he sees a lot of first-time investors signing up for the site. "With this generation, they are scarred by the financial crisis. They don’t have trust, and we’re trying to mitigate that,” says Dalarossa, who plans to add educational tools.

One feature coming up is a virtual portfolio that will be pre-built for them with a questionnaire. Another plan is to allow investors to connect with seasoned professionals to get guidance.

Ivy is Editor-at-Large for Advanced Trading and Wall Street & Technology. Ivy is responsible for writing in-depth feature articles, daily blogs and news articles with a focus on automated trading in the capital markets. As an industry expert, Ivy has reported on a myriad ... View Full Bio

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