With the uncertain status of the stock market, more individual investors are looking for help. That specific niche is one that Portfolio Monkey could fill.
Available at PortfolioMonkey.com, this financial startup will allow users to analyze and optimize their portfolio and also generate customized stock tips based off the portfolio characteristics.
Portfolio Monkey was recently named as one of Startup 2009′s ten finalists. To learn more about this startup, I interviewed Jay Liao, the founder of Portfolio Monkey.
Stephen Kersey: Can you tell the StartupSpark readers a little bit more about PortfolioMonkey.com? What makes your startup better than the competition?
Jay Liao: Portfolio Monkey provides simple to use and intelligent online investment tools to help level the playing field for self-guided investors. Our consumer-focused tools help investors optimize and rebalance their portfolios, assess risk, and develop investing and trading ideas that are customized to their portfolios. Unlike many traditional providers that focus only on the asset class level, our portfolio optimization tools provides analysis at the individual stock level.
SK: What do you enjoy the most about the startup process?
JL: The creative process of brainstorming ideas and working with a team to help turn those idea into something tangible gets me most fired up about working in a startup. The startup process, itself, is a journey filled with so many up’s and down’s – experiences that you could probably never replicate in a corporate setting; I’m definitely enjoying the ride.
SK: What have been the most difficult obstacles your startup has faced?
JL: Well, one thing that has been particularly challenging for us is the timing and magnitude of the stock market meltdown, which accelerated during fall of last year, soon after we launched our alpha site. Generally speaking, during rough economic patches, the majority of people tend to shy away from investing, instead, choosing to wait for signs of a market recovery before they start to invest or make changes to their portfolio. On a macro level, obviously this has affected the usage of our product.
We’ve been fortunate, however, to attract a group of early users that believe (like we do), that a downturn is the best time to reposition their portfolios, to actively manage their downside risk, and to look for bargains in the stock market.
SK: What tips do you have for other entrepreneurs who are thinking about joining the startup world?
JL: One of the toughest parts about joining the startup world is that initial step of committing yourself. It’s so easy to make excuses and to psych ourselves out into not taking that plunge. If you can get past that and just do it, you’ll find it’s a lot more exhilarating to be swimming (or sinking) than watching others do it.
SK: What has your experience been like with Startup 2009 so far? Are you excited about your chances of winning the grand prize on June 3rd?
JL: We’re definitely excited to be named a finalist for Startup 2009. Given our location out west, it’s a good opportunity for us to reach out to a NY-based audience. We’re looking forward to getting the word out and competing for the grand prize.
SK: What are Portfolio Monkey’s short-term and long-term goals?
JL: We’re currently working on launching our beta site (scheduled for end of summer) which incorporates a lot of our initial user feedback, provides new features and added functionality as well as a slicker UI. In the longer term, we’ll continue to work on adding new features, but will be also be more partner focused. Stay tuned.