A South West maths-whizz and economics graduate behind the development of an app to encourage sustainable investing have smashed a crowdfunding target.
Daniel Gold and Nikki Hawkes, co-founders of Stratiphy, raised more than £440,000 from 700 investors spread across 53 countries. The company was set up during the pandemic but managed to beat its crowdfunding target by 220%.
Stratiphy is an investment app that lets users trade according to their risk profile, industry preferences, and sustainability criteria. It lets users see the historic performance of their selection and gives clear instructions of what to buy and sell.
It introduces beginners to investing with an education in portfolio risk management. It gives users control over their investment – without high fees of professional guidance.
Ms Hawkes, who has worked as an actuary at a life and pensions operations centre in Bristol, said: “We want to help people invest sustainably and safely by themselves.”
Stratiphy came through the South West’s SETsquared accelerator programme, a tech incubator involving six leading research-led UK universities: Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey.
Mr Gold, who has worked as a risk analyst and in bond yield forecasting for a banking giant, said: “I wanted to combine my three passions – maths, finance and sustainability – into one vision.”
He set up Stratiphy after studying strategies used by high-net worth clients at investment banks and applying it to his own shares – doubling his money over two years.
But he found there was a lack of online tools to help ordinary people build and monitor their own portfolios. He set about designing a system to mimic the experts’ approach to growth.
Daniel, who has a degree in maths from the University of Bristol and went on to complete PhD in algebraic geometry, said: “It was a personal challenge to make investing more accessible, with the option to make more ethical choices.
“I wanted to provide quality investments and advice, without drowning the user with unnecessary information. It reduces time, effort and risk involved in investing.”
Mr Gold was in full-time employment when he started developing the idea and often worked into the early hours and at weekends. After a year he had created an interface for building strategies like the quantitative approach used in the investment industry.
He then brought in a technology advisor, David Adler, and made his first hire, Ms Hawkes, who became a co-founder. Despite not meeting in person due to lockdown, they clicked over a shared mission to make investing accessible and sustainable.
Stratiphy introduces beginners to investing with an education in portfolio risk management. And it allows users to customise their preferences, so they can choose Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) options.
Stratiphy has a team of industry leading advisors from banking and fintech backgrounds, and has already won a contract with Sustainalytics, a global leader in ESG research and data.
Mr Gold, who also set up a business with his brother to help off-grid communities in the Middle East make use of solar energy, says sustainable investing is vital.
Their firm has to date saved 150,000 tonnes of harmful carbon dioxide emissions, equal to planting over 3,705,000 trees or removing 28,100 cars from the road for an entire year.
Mr Gold said: “It has shown me that the financial decisions we make can have a physical impact on the world – and we need more of this.”
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Stratiphy, which came through the South West’s SETsquared accelerator programme, is growing both its team and waiting list – as the app goes live.
Ms Hawkes, a former Kings of Wessex Academy pupil in Cheddar, has worked on campaigns to reduce carbon footprints both at home and abroad. She said: “We can’t wait for the full version of the product to be live. Personalised, sustainable investing is the future and we are here to make it easier.”