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Fintech Spotlight: Rapunzl Hones Investing App, Social Impact Initiatives

Benzinga
Benzinga
 2021-10-22
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Students, broadly speaking, lack a solid understanding of financial wellness and markets.

That’s according to Brian Curcio who, along with Myles Gage, is building Rapunzl Investments, a Nasdaq Inc-powered (NASDAQ: NDAQ) app unlocking the markets to a new generation.

Read below to find out how Rapunzl is helping teach and build strong financial habits.

Context: Gage and Curcio, who bonded over topics pertaining to the economy and stock market, during the global financial crisis of 2007-2009, came upon Rapunzl when they realized their peers had difficulty in understanding how markets work.

“On campus, there was this community of people who were trading,” Curcio said in reference to this drive by students to connect over markets and build strong financial habits. “Myles and I came up with the idea of Rapunzl initially as a social layer, where people would be linking their brokerage accounts and you’d be able to see your friend’s investments.”

Soon, the two founders realized they were marketing to people who had no idea what they were doing; “If we wanted to have a social investing platform, then people would first have to understand investing.”

Evolution: At its core, Rapunzl is an app that offers users fictitious dollars to buy and sell publicly traded companies, as well as engage with others.

“We’re essentially providing equitable access to financial markets,” Gage said in a prior conversation on amping up app engagement. “We would host competitions around the country with that being one of the initial ways in which we started marketing the app.”

As the pandemic accelerated, demand for financial education rose. This was a boon to Rapunzl who used the period to hone in on product development and marketing.

“The focus was on developing and incubating curriculum with high schoolers and teachers, as well as hosting these scholarship competitions with the idea of making all of those education materials free,” Curcio explained. “Then, we could launch cash competitions with a payout model similar to DraftKings.”

Later, the co-founders decided to tour colleges, as well as partner with brokers like Invstr and Kraken on allowing users to convert their competition winnings to live accounts.

Outlook: Rapunzl has more than 30,000 accounts and 6,000 monthly active users. This comes as the market for education and financial tools is consolidating, Curcio noted.

“We’re starting to see a lot of financial education startups disappearing and consolidating into these larger players building communities.”

As an established player working with the likes of Nasdaq and Invstr, Rapunzl is looking to capitalize on that trend with personalization and community outreach initiatives.

“We’re trying to find a synthesis between the scholarships that we offer and this social impact that we kind of achieve with our education tools,” Curcio said.

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