The United Kingdom is the hotbed for fintech and is considered a pathbreaker for new and cutting-edge financial technology. It is also one of the most conventional investment markets in the world. So, the growing popularity of app-driven stockbrokers is pleasantly surprising and highly rewarding. One such app is dabbl. The UK-based app-only investing platform is making trading a lot more relatable and easy to comprehend. Unlike current trading jargon, which is hard to comprehend and involves a significant amount of number crunching, dabbl is trying to make stock-purchasing an engaging affair. Cofounder Mark Ackred says, “There is a big gap in the market for casual investors, who want to learn more about a stock they invest in but get thrown by complicated financial jargon. I wanted to create a platform where investors can choose the brands they like to and invest in them – and this is what a Fair Share revolution is all about.”
The app allows anyone to purchase physical shares of more than 30,000 companies listed in the UK, European and US stock markets. In addition, Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) have also been added. One of the most attractive features of the app is image recognition and an inbuilt search engine to allow for easy association of brands that own them.
With technology and marketing taking centrestage, Ackred saw immense potential in connecting the general public with the stock market.
dabbl users will typically sign up for a £2 membership, which includes up to three trades a month. All trades are bundled and executed at 3 pm everyday, with additional trades costing £1 each – this pricing is highly favourable compared to the average 10GBP per transaction, as charged by UK’s top five stock brokers. The idea behind this low pricing is to enable investors – who would otherwise be priced out of the market – to start trading, says Ackred.
Unlike major investment companies that spend millions on personnel and technical infrastructure to track the stock market, dabbl’s deployment of technology has scaled down infrastructure costs significantly.
Freemium Strategy for Future Growth
This ‘freemium’ approach to revenue generation, similar to Skype and Spotify, is part of the new wave of innovators today – by initally rolling out free services, the hope is a loyal customer base will be created and the customers will be compelled to pay for quality services or a special value add by the company in the future. In the case of dabbl, the company is supposedly opening its first public fund-raising round and early adopters will be given a chance to invest in the company.
As for other future plans, Ackred is hopeful of adding 50,000 new users by the end of FY 2018 and probably reach 100,000 by their second year of trading.
Investor Interest and Partnership with BlackRock
Less than two years in, and dabbl is already making an impact with investors and industry veterans. The startup has raised capital from high profile investors such as advertising mogul BBH’s Sir John Hegarty and Bestinvest founder John Spiers. A strategic partnership with Publicis Groupe is aiding them with marketing and branding.
More recently, dabbl’s partnership with leading investment management firm Blackrock has firmed up their intentions to democratize investing. Through this partnership, investors can buy ETFs on an incremental basis – ETFs are an ideal way to track a market index like the FTSE, using a fund that charges a nominal fee and can be purchased or sold like a share. Ackred believes these partnerships will make dabbl’s business model sharper and relatable.
What Else Is In The Market?
Robinhood – This is a stock brokerage app that allows you to buy and sell individual stocks for zero dollars a trade. It has around three million accounts and more than one million have signed up for access to its new crypto-trading service.
Acorns – With more than three million users, Acorn is another app only investing platform with the financial backing of companies like PayPal, Bain Capital, TPG, BlackRock and Rakuten.
Stash – You can start investing on Stash with an investment of USD5, and choose from a diverse range of stocks and ETFs.