Last night, guest judges chose Sivan Atad’s startup nVest as the winner of $115,000 in prizes at the Pitch, SmartCompany‘s early-stage startup competition.
nVest works with banks, businesses and startups to help them create modern offerings within their online products and apps that end customers and retail investors can use to trade stocks.
“It’s an interesting problem space,” the judges said. nVest was chosen as the Pitch winner out of six shortlisted startups.
“There is a real need to reduce trading costs, so it’s a good market fit. nVest also showcased good signals around partner engagement and understanding around broader market trends from businesses who want to buy versus build.”
As winner of the third instalment of the Pitch, Atad joins an esteemed group: Amber Linz of Zipr and Amy Benson of Diolog. With 20 years of experience working with banks and other corporates, Atad has built a number of apps and products, and gained rich experience in this world. He fills us in on the startup and the win.
Tell us about nVest
nVest is on a mission to innovate and disrupt in the stock trading space and investing in general. We’ve built technology that can be applied on top of any investment infrastructure, whether that is exchanges or brokers in Australia, or in other countries, and help them modernise their offering to their end customers, the retail investors.
Our mission is to democratise access to the stock markets initially, and to other asset classes as we go. We’re doing that on a B2B model, so we are powering apps that bring those capabilities to their customers. Those apps could be banks, banking apps, investment apps, it could be super apps, or all sorts of other wealth decks or financial products that want to embed investment capabilities.
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Our solution is an API driven capability, so our clients can integrate with the API easily and reduce a lot of the complexities that they would have otherwise had to build a product. There are some examples of products in the market today that either use embedded capabilities from other regions, or companies in Australia that had to build their own technology to get some of the capabilities that we are talking about. Locally you see recently that CBA has embedded those capabilities into its banking app, so essentially making CommSec and CommSec Pocket available to customers to invest with, through the main banking app. I think that CBA is on a journey to introduce more and more of these type of capabilities and make it even more accessible to customers.
So, in a similar way, our platform can be used by other companies like banks to embed capabilities into their banking app and simplify the investment experience so that it’s not something that you need to do on a separate trading app.
What was your approach to delivering your winning pitch?
It wasn’t our first pitch yesterday. We’ve only pitched in a couple of events so far, but I’ve pitched countless times over the last 12 months, and I think it has gradually got better and better. What I pitched at the event is really what we’ve learned over the last 12 months, and the adapting of our pitch and our product offering to what the market needs are.
What’s next for nVest?
It’s very exciting. Yesterday we actually also announced the launch of our sandbox, so it was quite an eventful day. What we’re doing over the next few weeks is gradually onboarding companies and innovators into our sandbox to enable them to start experimenting with building the future of investing, and landing how we can fine tune our offering and our product to help them do that over time.
We have a very exciting and talented team working on this product. There have been more than 20 contributors into this project doing a lot of work in the evenings and the weekends. We are looking to expand that team, we are also looking to raise some money so that we can build full-time teams that can support their customers and enable the attraction of larger partnerships and bigger business.
What words of advice do you have for other founders?
It’s not easy at the moment. We are all in a similar situation, and I think that the hard times really either make you harder, or make you give up. My advice to companies right now is to stay patient, to focus on building value, and find ways to make it through these times, because it’s going to improve. I think it’s starting to turn, and I think that patience pays.
If you manage to still improve your offering, if you manage to see it progress during this time, it’s a huge sign, it’s a huge validation for your company to do things when the market can stand, when the market is good.