WE MAY have heard of investing forums, but what about a social network of investing ideas?
A combination of social media features and information about investing, InvestingNote aims to let users keep their own e-journals for their investments.
The startup, which brings retail investors, stock brokers, remisiers, financial bloggers and traders together to educate people on how to invest in stock markets, has also partnered CIMB Securities, PhillipCapital and RHB Securities.
InvestingNote, whose services are all free, serves two kinds of users: professionals and retail investors.
Professionals are individuals who have knowledge about investments and share it with retail investors, who seek the opinions of the professionals on stocks they should buy or sell.
A unique feature of InvestingNote is the combination of social media tools that resemble Facebook's status update feature, Instagram's "follow" function and eBay's seller ratings.
Retail investors can use the shout-out function to privately message a professional or post a message publicly for other retail investors to view. Those who like a professional's advice can "follow" and award points to boost the professional's reputation.
Raymond Chin, head of retail equities at RHB Securities, said: "InvestingNote allows us to build valuable relationships with investors, develop our businesses and raise our profiles in research coverage for small and mid-cap stocks in Singapore."
InvestingNote, which has been around since 2015, was founded by CEO Shanison Lin.
He told The Business Times on Thursday: "It's important for everyone to know why they buy and sell. That's why our name is InvestingNote - it's a note for you to do your investing and keep track in your own investing journal."
On the platform, retail investors can add a note to what they previously bought and a comment section allows users to state their reasons for buying the stocks. These are recorded in a chart that shows a comparison of stocks bought in the past.
Unlike investing forums, Mr Lin said, the InvestingNote organises information neatly, and ensures that professionals are credible by verifying their accreditation only after meeting them in person.
Mr Lin's personal interest in investing in stocks and his own experience of turning to forums made him realise that it wasn't the best way to get information.
Forums lack credibility as users can simply use a nickname and delete information at their convenience.
On InvestingNote, users can't delete what they have posted. Mr Lin said that there is only a 30-minute grace period to edit or correct posts.
Mr Lin started off with three co-founders. They sought funding from National Research Foundation and was awarded S$50,000. But the co-founders left the startup after six months due to other commitments.
"I was alone in the company, and was struggling to find resources and other co-founders because what I'm doing is serving a very niche market. Startups are not smooth sailing. In the beginning, it's very tough. User growth is also quite slow," said Mr Lin.
Before InvestingNote, he was working with ShareInvestor - a subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings - for four years. After pitching the idea to SPH, InvestingNote was given another S$300,000. To date, it has received a total of S$450,000.
What sets InvestingNote apart is the way information is organised, its tracking tickers, sound ideas on the different sections, and its content of articles, research reports and stock estimates.
Forums, which mainly provide text-based information, require reading time in order to extract the stock target price. But on InvestingNote, the target price and performance of stocks can be obtained at a glance.
A PhillipCapital spokesman said: "The InvestingNote is a useful tool for investors to better understand and capitalise on the investment thesis behind the reports we prepare."
In its expansion plans, Investing Note is looking into advertisements, event collaboration, sale of e-books, and a marketplace that is already a work-in-progress. It also plans to venture into bigger markets such as Malaysia, Australia, Hong Kong and China.
InvestingNote is available online and on the Apple and Google Play stores.