The event proved to be a success, as over 100 people interested in learning more about the company showed up.
“And to think, we only had a week’s worth of planning,” Keel Co-Founder Sophia Lin said happily. “The demand for this kind of service is large in Boston, and we were happy to have hosted a meetup for this kind of market.”
People were interested to hear about Keel’s platform, which connects consumers with investors. Currently, Keel’s primary user base are people who want to start investing in the stock market or mutual funds but lack the expertise in doing so.
Keel allows its users to gain knowledge about the market as well as expand their own portfolio by following experienced investors, who are dubbed “Pros” on Keel, from across the country. Using a model similar to Airbnb or Uber, where sharing is the predominant part of their business, Keel’s users share their portfolios with Pros and other users. Keel empowers experienced investors to further monetize their market insights by simply connecting their investment accounts, like E*Trade or Fidelity, to Keel and opening up the portfolios to subscribers.
On the platform, consumers will be able to view the Pros’ historical returns first and subscribe to access to their personal investment portfolios. Every time when Pros makes new trades, their subscribers will receive a notification about what they bought or sold. Most of the time, Pros also share their investment strategy and stock analysis with their subscribers through Keel. Instead of following any ideas online, consumers can speak with someone who has a deep knowledge about personal investments.
“Anyone can talk about investments, but if you are serious about your personal money, you’ll want to talk to those who have built successful track records in investing,” Lin said. “The Pros guide consumers by showing them what they are buying and selling in their personal investment accounts.”
To really help people navigate through various type of investments, the platform is also launching the integration with cryptocurrency investments, particularly Bitcoin.
“I’m a beginner to Bitcoin myself, and knowing when and where to invest with it is incredibly helpful,” said Lin. “We definitely see a demand for a market like that one.”
Keel does have a subscription fee; depending on which investor the user will connect with, the user will pay between $10 to $50 per month.
Andrew Kelley, the Co-Founder and CEO of Keel, got the inspiration for the platform after experiencing some struggles trying to plan his own personal investments.
“I didn’t know or understand the market, so I spoke with planners and investors to get an idea,” said Kelley. “A common thread came up within my conversations and that was general consumers aren’t getting information, like returns and investment styles, before they pay for most investment services. The data wasn’t available.”
Keel was one of the ten FinTech startups to be accepted into the DCU FinTech Innovation Center for their 2017 cohort. In addition to their time at the accelerator, Keel was recently named the runner-up at the Boston Startup Challenge by GSVlabs.
“The FinTech Innovation Center has been a great initiative for FinTech startups,” said Lin. “We’ve not only made progress with Keel, but we’ve also made friends with the other startups in the accelerator. There have been a few times where we and the other startups will share ideas with one another.”
A keel on a sailboat helps keep it afloat while it is out on the water, and Keel the FinTech startup is keeping its users afloat in the world of personal investments.
“Coming from a startup background, I can appreciate due diligence, especially when it comes to finances,” said Kelley. “Keel allows those in my situation to know the Pros’ historical returns before paying for their knowledge, and use the Pros’ trade activities to guide their personal investments.”