Irish Investing Startup Rubicoin Will Keep It Simple as It Expands to the U.S.

EXCLUSIVE—With individual stock ownership in decline, the number of apps and services seeking to bring in new investors is increasing.

Many of these startups are adding new features, promotions, and courses to entice users, but one startup, Dublin-based company Rubicoin, is keeping a more simplistic approach as it expands its service to the U.S.

“The world kind of resents complexity if it’s not your area of expertise,” Emmet Savage, chief investor and co-founder for Rubicoin, told Bank Innovation. “You can add features, that’s easy, but what isn’t easy is to just keep the bare minimum features there, and beautiful, and intuitive. We would rather remove an underused feature than add a new feature.”

The startup will be filling its New York office on Park Avenue within the coming 12 months, Savage said. The company has a team of 16 people in Ireland, and seeks to enable first-time investors to successfully move past the “curiosity point” and into successful investing, predicated entirely on the idea that “apps shouldn’t come with an instruction manual,” Savage said.

Rubicoin helps users to invest in fractional shares of stocks, as opposed to other services focused on ETFs.

Unlike others who put their investing education courses and the ability to invest in the same space, Rubicoin actually has two separate applications for each: the first is called Learn, for the education side, and the second is Invest, for the practical application.

Learn has about 738,000 downloads as of today, according to the company, while Invest has approximately 350,000 downloads.

Users across both applications come from similar demographics, John Tyrrell, COO and co-founder for Rubicoin, told Bank Innovation.

Rubicoin is centered on finding investors at the “right time,” Savage said, which might not mean going after 24 or 25 year-old millennials — who are starting to think about investments later in life due to factors such as student loans.

“In the middle of the bell-curve is [the] 31-year old American,” Tyrrell said of Rubicoin’s users. “It’s late-state millennials, generally people who have started their career, moving away from college debt and starting to understand the importance of setting themselves up for their future.”

While 2018 is “focused entirely on growth,” Tyrrell said, the company’s focus on simplicity extends to its adoption of new features and technology. This includes things like artificial intelligence, which many investing startups and services are beginning to put to use.

“We’ve been working on AI for quite a while, it’s very relevant. AI, at the moment, isn’t better than humans. There’s these corner cases that will always catch out an AI system,” Savage said, adding that Rubicoin is working on an AI engine but has no set timeline to release it into its applications.

“Our AI will only plug into our product when it is as good or better as what we’re doing [now],” Savage said. “We have to just be aware that this is a rising force in technology.”

Both of Rubicoin’s apps are currently available for Android and Apple download.

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