|Hello HN!! I’m Agustin, founder of Fintual Inc, from YC’s S18 batch. We’re building an automated passive investment platform for Latin Americans (https://fintual.com). I come from a computer science + business background so when we first started discussing this idea I didn’t have much experience on finance or investment other than what I had learned by playing around with Bitcoin. Since I graduated I knew I wanted to become an entrepreneur, but not having any work experience led me to pretty standard ideas like a music streaming website or a food ordering app. I realised rather late that I needed to join experienced partners to find better business insights and opportunities.|
After many conversations with my current business partner Omar, who had been 8 years working for the largest wealth manager in LATAM, I was shocked to understand how Latin American people, including people around me, were unfairly paying enormous amounts of money to banks who offered very expensive and many times overly complex investment solutions to retail / uninformed long term investors. After investigating how Betterment, Wealthfront and passive investment strategies in general had been changing the landscape for Americans, we were motivated to do whatever it took to solve this problem in LATAM starting from our own country Chile which, despite being a tiny country, has more than 60 billion dollars allocated in Mutual Funds by itself.
We started by building a responsive website using AngularJS and Ruby on Rails as quickly as we could to get user feedback soon, we mostly copied the onboarding process directly from Betterment. At the beginning we thought automating every step of the investment process was the most important challenge, but now, after some experience and several conversations with YC partners, we have come to realize the real problem to solve is none other than distribution: how to reach millions of users in an economically viable way. Banks already have the clients, while we have to explain and convince people there’s a better way. At first we tried to find an incumbent to work with us, but after a year trying we decided to get our own license (the equivalent to a FINRA Series 6 license) which took a large part of the seed round and 8 months of work, but finally got it. We’ve been growing at a healthy 10% week over week since March now thanks mainly to word of mouth, but we know we need to have a better handle on this growth for the future.
I’m very excited to be at this point, I have been reading HN for 10 years now and I only dreamed about making a YC launch post. As I said, we need to find a more consistent approach on growth, If any of you has any new idea or has heard of approaches of how could we get more people to realize they’re overpaying (some even pay 7% annual fees!) and get them to know and trust our solution, that would be awesome, but anyway, I’m eager to read and respond to whatever this great community has to say.