The shares of many American companies, such as Amazon, Alphabet, or Tesla, can contain hundreds or thousands of dollars per share. Split trading, or buying a portion of a single stock through a brokerage house, makes them more accessible, at least to people residing in the United States. Investors in other countries, however, often have to pay high fees through interactive brokers. Go negotiate makes split trading of US stocks accessible to people in 150 countries and charges a minimum of one dollar.
The startup announced that it has raised $ 7 million in seed funding led by LocalGlobe, with participation from Social Leverage, Y Combinator, Picus Capital and Raptor Group. The cycle also included angel investors like Matt Robinson, co-founder of GoCardless; Carlos Gonzalez-Cadenas, former Skyscanner product manager; Frank Strauss, former head of global digital activities at Deutsche Bank; and Joel Yarbrough, Asia Pacific Manager at Rapyd.
GoTrade was founded in 2019 by David Grant, Norman Wanto and Rohit Mulani. Its app was launched three months ago and is currently accessible by invitation only. Gotrade says registrations grew 20% week-over-week and now has more than 100,000 users spread across the world. About 65% of Gotrade users have traded in stocks before, while the rest are newbie investors.
Mulani, the CEO of the company, told TechCrunch that Gotrade’s idea germinated when he took an interest in U.S. stocks, but discovered many barriers to trade.
“When I was 18, I looked for access to Singapore, and the banks were charging $ 30 per transaction. Effectively, the market taught me that I could not enter the market. Ten years later I decided to reconsider the matter and the banks were still charging $ 25 per transaction, ”he said. “On top of that, their user interfaces were something I didn’t want to look at. So we decided to create a brokerage platform that anyone can access. “
“Fractional trading came a bit later,” he added. “That was the real MVP for us because fractional really makes investing accessible to everyone in the world because all you need is a dollar.”
Robin Hood, SoFi and Hideout all involve fractional exchanges, but Mulani said those apps are primarily used by U.S. residents. On the other hand, Gotrade is not available to US residents due to financial regulations, so its main competitors are interactive brokers, Saxo Bank and eToro.
Gotrade does not charge commission, custody, inactivity or dividend fees. Instead, it monetizes by collecting a small commission on the exchange of deposits and interest generated from cash not invested in brokerage accounts. The app is free, but plans to add a premium paid membership program and a virtual debit card that users can link to their accounts.
Many Gotrade users are people who have invested in their local stock markets, but were not able to trade US stocks before. Their ages vary widely, but 25-34 year olds are the largest segment of the app, and the average account size is around $ 500.
Gotrade acts as an IPO broker with Alpaca Securities LLC, a US stock brokerage firm regulated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and serves as an intermediary. Alpaca Securities divides its stock of shares into fractions and Gotrade users can decide how many fractions they wish to purchase. The app also allows them to set a budget and automatically calculates the amount of fractional shares they can afford through notional value trading.
User accounts are protected up to $ 500,000 by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), and the money goes through regulated counterparties in Singapore, like Rapyd, and the United States, including Alpaca and First Republic Bank. . To protect users, Gotrade only works with fully funded cash accounts with no margins. Mulani explained that a margin account actually means people borrow money to invest, while a fully funded account means a user can only invest the money they have already deposited into their account. account. FINRA and Securities Exchange Commission regulations also mean that accounts under $ 25,000 can only be traded on one day, or buy and sell a security on the same day, up to three times every five days. of scholarship.
Like many investing apps aimed at beginner or relatively new traders, Gotrade includes educational content, such as pop-ups with definitions of investment terms and news articles on publicly traded companies. Its new funding will be used for hiring and product development, with a focus on adding more content to the app.
In a statement, Remus Brett, Partner of LocalGlobe, said: “Over the past 100 years, US stocks have generated average annual returns of 10%. With capitalization, an investment of $ 1,000 then would be worth $ 13 million today. These returns fueled wealth creation in the United States and other developed markets, but most of the world did not take advantage of them. We believe Gotrade has the potential to help the 99% of the world access the same benefits as the 1%. We are incredibly happy to join Rohit, David and Norman on this journey.