My Startup: Tickr
Tickr is an app built for the next generation of investors to make money whilst having a positive impact on the world.
It's the first app solely focused on impact investing, where users get to provide for their future. The organisation wants to make investing easy for everyone, regardless of wealth or financial knowledge - as well as have a positive social impact too.
Founders: Tom McGillycuddy and Matt Latham
We talked to Tom about setting up the app.
Why did you start Tickr?
I started working in financial services with Barclays in September 2011 and felt like I’d been let behind the curtain. I’d got a glimpse at how finance works, and realised it was largely inefficient, charged extortionate fees to unsuspecting customers, and had been designed to confuse ordinary people like me.
It also seemed geared up to earn revenue and profit indiscriminately, with no real thought about where this money came from and the impact of it; and all of that just didn’t sit well with me at all.
But it wasn’t until I started at Wellington in 2014 that I learned about investing in a granular way. I was surrounded by a group of intelligent people, world leaders in their fields, and I tried to soak up as much knowledge as I could from them.
Doing so I became more convinced that if we could channel all this knowledge and money to companies and people doing good stuff for the world, then we could change the world in the process.
This led me to impact investing: investing in companies to earn money and have a positive impact on the planet. I started working in the impact team at Wellington after convincing their Head of Impact Investing to take me on (with an impassioned caffeine-fuelled rant about changing the world!).
While working in a team, investing money for pension funds and family offices, my Co-founder Matt and I started to think: why is there no way for us to do this easily with our own money? It felt like ordinary people were being excluded from something we thought had mass appeal. So in 2016 we started working on the idea that would eventually become Tickr, with the aim of bringing impact investing to everyone, especially those new to investing.
Tell us more about Tickr.
Tickr is the first app solely focused on impact investing. It’s built for the next generation of investors to make money whilst having a positive impact on the world.
People can choose to put their money into specific companies spanning four separate themes:
- Climate change
- Disruptive tech
- Combination (a mix of the three)
In the background, we’ve built portfolios consisting of global stocks and shares all linked to the theme selected, and we blend these with bonds and cash to ensure that our users’ money is diversified, and invested in companies driving positive change.
We see ourselves as being the most convenient way for anyone to help change the world. The Tickr app as you see it today - aligning investments with companies addressing big problems - is just the beginning. Finances should be stacked in favour of the user, and benefit the planet, and we’ll shake up the industry with these two things in mind.
Where are you at right now?
We’ve built an incredible team that we’re very proud of. We have a young and hungry team that are bound together by our mission and what we stand for as a business.
We started in January 2019 from scratch, and now in September 2019 we’ve raised £2.5 million in external funding, and have grown from there being three of us, to 14 with offices in London and Liverpool. We’ve gone from zero users to tens of thousands in nine months, and we couldn’t have done it without the team.
What are your aims for the next year?
In order to get to the next stage, you’ll see us strengthen our team, scale our user base in the UK and in Europe, and lay the groundwork for some real innovation in the European funds market and within our own business model. All with positive impact as the guiding light.
I think within the next five to ten years, impact investing will just be called investing. Our generation are starting to invest more, and have more money, and this structural shift in consumer attitudes and the change in whose hands the money is in will transform financial services and make it unrecognisable within the next five years.
We’ll be at the forefront of that, as the first-to-market impact investment app in Europe, and companies that don’t understand this shift will be left behind.
What's been the hardest thing about getting Tickr off the ground?
When Matt and I started working on the idea in 2016, we had to do it on the sides of two jobs in investment management, which involved 60- to 70-hour weeks. I used to work on the idea in the morning before work, then Matt would pick up in the evening, and we would speak and work together at the weekend. That was certainly challenging.
The first few years involved a lot of exploration and figuring out how to launch an investment company we funded ourselves (you don’t know what you don’t know until you start, and then realise you really don’t know much, but you’ve no choice but to learn it fast!).
When it got closer to us being able to launch, we worked hard to land some angel funding to get it off the ground. We both then left our jobs and raised further capital from investors in the industry - mainly senior people at the organisations we used to work for - and a family office based in The Netherlands,
This enabled us to get regulated and launch the first version of the app to family and friends in October 2018, prior to a wider launch in January 2019 on iOS.
Why should more people be using Tickr?
We’re the first app solely focused on impact investing, where users get to provide for their future.
We want to be the most convenient way for anyone to have a positive impact on the world. The Tickr app as you see it today - aligning your investments with companies addressing big problems - is just the beginning. Finances should be stacked in favour of the user, and benefit the planet, and we will shake up the industry with these two things in mind.