Apteo is a company that gives investors the tools they need to help them make better decisions in the stock market, including AI-powered analysis and reporting for the stocks they care about. I caught up with Co-Founder and CEO Shanif Dhanani to gain insight into what Apteo is all about.
How did Apteo come to be?
About ten years ago, I got into investing fairly heavily. In fact, a couple of my friends and I even formed an investment club to see if we could improve our investing results by working together and using options. Unfortunately, that didn't go anywhere, but I continued to invest ever since. Over the course of time, I came across a lot of different philosophies behind investing, but I had my doubts about which of them worked and when they were valuable. I was always lacking a tool that could analyze all the data around me to provide an objective and data-driven view of what data was important. Recently, some advanced AI techniques became available, and they allowed me to start building something that could scratch that itch. So the idea behind the company has been around for a while, but my co-founders and I founded it last year after we all met up and started working together.
For those who don't know, tell me about the problem you're trying to solve in the financial space. What does Apteo do?
Stock investors face a variety of problems today. There are almost 20 million individual investors and around 10,000 hedge funds in the US that invest in stocks. They're all trying to make informed decisions on what investments are best for them, but the amount of information available to them today is overwhelming. They can't possibly go through it all. On top of that, the information that they do have access to may be biased or unobjective, and they would never know it until they've lost money. At our core, we're trying to build tools to help them solve these problems by using objective and data-driven methodologies to process financial information and provide them with actionable insights.
These insights include a variety of different things—everything from letting users know how positive or negative a news article is all the way up to providing a list of ranked stocks that are predicted to outperform all other stocks (among large-cap US equities). We can provide a variety of different investment analytics tools for all sorts of investors, and they can leverage these tools to make decisions that suit them the best.
How has your company evolved over time?
Though we're still a relatively young company, we have gone through several different shifts. When we first started out, we were primarily concerned with research & development. We wanted to know that we could address the toughest technical challenges reasonably before we put too many resources into building a company. When we proved that to ourselves, we started the typical startup process of searching for a business model. At first, we thought we would be a hedge fund, but as we spoke to more people in the industry and learned more about the typical problems that investors face, and after we did a session of introspective reflection to ask ourselves who we wanted to be, we came to the conclusion that we wanted to help all investors make better decisions. That led us down the path of deciding to build a product that could help other investors.
Our first hypothesis was that users didn't want to go through the research and financial modeling process themselves, which meant that we could simply provide them with a list of the best stocks to invest in at any given time. However, after conducting several more interviews and observing how users interacted with our prototype, we realized that investors are always going to want to do their own research, but that they needed tools to help them, so we started focusing on building those tools.
Throughout that process, we've recruited folks to help us in all aspects of the process—everything from building out our core AI to creating a marketing strategy to designing an intuitive UX. We continue to look for great people that are passionate about what we're doing and our team continues to get stronger.
How big is the team?
Currently, we have 10 people on the team working full-time or part-time. We're looking to do a round of fundraising soon, which will help us bring on some of the part-time folks into a full-time role. We aren't looking to hire quite yet, but we're always keeping our eyes open for great people that can help us grow. When we find the right people for the work that we need to get done, we're always willing to figure out a deal that can work for everyone.
What comes next for Apteo?
We have a few key goals for Apteo over the next 6 months:
- Closing a fundraising round that will help us build product
- Finish building out our core product and getting it into the market as soon as possible
- Generating initial sales
Any final thoughts?
We have no doubt that AI and machine learning are going to make a huge impact on the world in the future, and we believe that they've already started to do so in the world of investing. We envision a world where all investors have access to sophisticated tools that can help them make well-informed investing decisions—decisions that help them achieve financial success. We believe we're on the cusp of a great trend, and we're working hard to be at the front of that trend.
Our first product, Milton, provides investors with tools to help them make better decisions by providing them with AI-generated analysis and reporting for the stocks that they care about.