Last Updated: By TRUiC Team
Shares is a fintech app that is making investing social by combining the functionality of a stock market investment app with helpful forums and community-centered functionalities to help users gain real insights into their investment.
Interview With Benjamin Chemla
Describe your product or service:
“Shares is Europe’s first fully integrated social and investing app. Shares combines the functionality of a consumer investment app with the wisdom of online forums, where any investor can buy stocks, react to the market in real-time, start conversations with friends, and get insights from peers in one place. It’s a serious platform with no-minimum, no-fees access to 1,500 stocks and yet uniquely social, where family, friends, and seasoned traders can invest together, sharing knowledge and experience to inspire long-term growth in their investments.”
Describe your company values and mission:
“Shares is on a mission to pioneer a whole new investing app category, ‘investing made social’ designed from the ground for user experience and community. The social-first platform for retail investors provides a safe, secure, and regulated place to invest and exchange information that empowers anyone to invest. By enabling social functionality — chat with family and friends, shared experience, and community — Shares will resonate with investors on existing apps and attract first-time investors. Today’s investors want a safe, regulated investment platform, which Shares provides alongside portfolio management tools and a trusted community.”
How are you funded? I.e. venture capital, angel investors, etc.
“Shares has grown quickly since being founded earlier this year by winning early VC & Angel investor backing plus a slate of top-tier business advisors like André Mohamed, co-founder of Freetrade, Didier Valet, ex-deputy CEO of Société Générale, Chris Adelbach, managing partner of Outrun Ventures and UKBAA Angel Investor of the Year, and Ryan McKillen, founding team of Uber.
Shares has already achieved one of the largest-ever seed fundraises by an early-stage startup in Europe, raising $10 Million USD in the first, pre-product seed round alone. Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures — the early investor in fintech Unicorns N26, Wise, and Bitpanda — participated in the round alongside Singular (lead investor), Global Founders Capital, and Red Sea Ventures to date.”
How big is your team? Tell us a little about them (I.e. co-founders, freelancers, etc.)
“Shares is a proudly international and fast-growing team of 60, representing more than 10 nationalities based across three offices in Paris, London, and Krakow so far. Talent has been drawn from leading scale-ups including Revolut, Stuart, Bumble, and FreeNow with diverse expertise applied to build the one-of-a-kind Shares app.”
We’ve come so far in less than a year and it wouldn’t have been possible without a deep bench of talented, highly-skilled, and experienced people who’ve together designed a social-first product and had the capability to execute on that vision in completely uncharted territory.”
How did you come up with your startup idea? How did you decide to actually act on the idea? What gave you confidence that you were on the right track?
“All our co-founders are retail investors, so we have seen first hand that relying on Reddit, YouTube, Twitter, WhatsApp and other platforms for tips and information can be a dangerous way to invest. Many retail investors are turning to social media for advice that is often ‘fake news’ and, of course, the platforms are totally unregulated. It’s hard for the average investor to know who to trust among the so-called experts, posing a real risk to their financial wellbeing.
We set out to create a safe place to invest long-term and integrate everything consumers want from an investing app today. We wanted to build a regulated, one-stop shop between social and investing. Shares solves many issues with retail investment, from unregulated ‘fake news’ to the knowledge gap that stops first-time investors from starting a portfolio. By providing investment with no-minimum, commission-free, and confidence through trusted peer insights from friends, we believe Shares will truly resonate with what people expect in a product today.”
How did you come up with your company name? Did you have other names you considered?
“We wanted our company’s name to reflect the investing and social aspects of our app and frankly, “Shares” embeds it all in a single powerful name.”
Who is your product or service made for? Who is your target market?
“Shares welcomes all traders, from market influencers to experienced and first-time investors. While of course we hope many users of existing investing apps with cash and experience will join Shares too, we’re most excited by the opportunity to attract new, first-time investors with our unique toolkit, social experience, and access to peer insights they need to confidently build a portfolio.”
How did you acquire your first 100 customers?
“At the end of August, Shares invited subscribers to join the waitlist for the Autumn launch of the Shares app in the United Kingdom, anticipating delivery across Europe in early 2022.”
What's your favorite book on entrepreneurship?
“My favourite entrepreneurial book is ‘No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention’ by Reed Hastings. I found myself strongly agreeing with Hasting’s ideas on how a company's culture determines its success.”
What is your favorite startup or business podcast?
“My go-to podcast is ‘How I Built This’ with Guy Raz, which features inspiring stories of entrepreneurs on how they built their successes and overcame their challenges.”
How do you stay motivated?
“My three main ways to stay motivated are surrounding yourself with great people, having a healthy work-life balance, and spending quality time with friends and family.”
Did you have to develop any habits that helped lead you to success? If so, what are they?
“To succeed, you must always stay curious and actively engage with people from your industry and across different ecosystems. At the same time, it is also important to be a great listener and surround yourself with wise people.”
What are you most proud of as an entrepreneur?
“I am proud not only of the growth of my business but also of the way our work culture has developed.”
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More on Shares
Insights From the Founder of Fintech Startup Shares
We were fortunate enough to hear some valuable insights during our interview with Benjamin Chemla of Shares that will inspire, motivate, and teach aspiring and established entrepreneurs alike.