Launch HN: Fintual Inc. (YC S18) – Automated Wealth Manager for Latin America

By agustinf - 2 days ago

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Congrats on the launch and good luck!!

Apparently not for Brasil yet, but definitely a product we need here. I would use something like it, but the only option in the space is a new startup ( with horrible UX (every form emulates a natural language chat bot, which makes muuuch longer to fill out simple fields that a regular <form> would take seconds).

Other than that, only brokers with very user-unfriendly online interfaces.

Easy, simple, wealth management is very much needed in here. I hope you do well enough in Chile to consider a expansion here.

soneca - 2 days ago

I think this is great. Hispanic families in the US would also benefit highly from non-predatory financial products. I spent a few months learning about investing and tried my best to pass that knowledge on to my family but it was challenging communicating the value of savings. Hope you have great success in Chile and are able to expand to other markets.

dannygarcia - 2 days ago

Wow, congratulations! Happy to see a HN'er rocking the conservative boat of Chilean financial institutions!

Though I feel like 1.19% is a bit too much: I'm currently using for ETF IPSA from Itaú (CFMITNIPSA, 0.6%) and Interactive Brokers for Irish All-World ETF from Vanguard (VWRD, 0.25%).

ivm - 2 days ago

Passive funds have decades of experience selling low-cost products. In general, their awareness-raising focuses on bemoaining the compound effect of high fees - how paying 2% more in fees per annum can result in you having 60% less savings over a 40 year people, for instance.

A lot of ETF funds here play a bit of an educational mission. They have regular commentaries and features on financial media, often around ‘demistifying investing’ and always talk to how passive is so much better than active+fees.

I’ve often been shocked at how low the level of financial literacy is amongst even highly educated people. The standard passive marketing pitch appeals to them because it’s so much less opaque than active approaches.

I’ve long wanted to do something similar in South Africa. I think the key is ease of setup and building in scheduled contributions. If your customers are putting in a set amount each month then your revenue grows year on year even if your market share stalls.

scrappyjoe - 2 days ago

Nice post. Best of luck in what you're doing!

My thought is people are averse to fees - but there needs to be a bit more of an impetus for someone to switch to your platform. Will you be using ETFs to gain exposures? If so, a lot of the marketing could be focused on diversity of investment or saving for retirement.

A lot of the reason the robo's have taken off is that some provide "fractional ownership". So you can invest as little as $1. There is some legal and compliance issues you would need to iron out in your home country. The "Acorns" approach is a good one in my opinion. Helps you get many small accounts quickly.

Ultimately, performance is what a lot of people go by. You need 5 years. Once you have 1 though - with 7% fees - you can easily start showing expense ratio drags on portfolios...

anonu - 2 days ago

Agustin, congratulations and good luck on your wonderful journey! Passive investment is something I've been following closely in Canada and hoping you can really help people secure their finances.

I have been in financial services strategy for quite a while now in various parts of the retail banking world and have been leading customer acquisition for both cards and retail banking in general. You're right - distribution is a big challenge but another big challenge is getting people to trust you with their money.

For me, you can either build the trust on your own (hard) or rely on your existing customers to help funnel the trust (i.e. referral schemes). Case studies, online calculators, customer videos speaking about the product, partnerships (have to be careful that this is a win-win) are some tactics you can think about.

Other questions for thought: - Does the government in Chile provide deposit guarantees? (i.e. if you go bankrupt, does the govt pay back the depositors a certain percentage?) - Can you convince people to move just a small percentage of their savings? Are you expecting people to use your platform for 100% of their investments or can you get people to consider you as part of their wider investment strategy? - Can your existing customers help in some way or form (i.e. referral scheme, communities, etc.)?

Wealthsimple is a great company that you can look to emulate as they do automated investments for Canadians.

Monzo is another great one. Based in the UK, their acquisition growth has been incredible with minimal marketing. Effectively, relying on word of mouth and a great product experience.

If you wanted to discuss more, happy to talk it through my experiences in Canada and the UK

tixocloud - a day ago

Hey, I just went through your signup questionnaire to test it out (I work in a similar space in the US). It felt very long to me in comparison with most services I've looked at. I'm not sure what the regulations in Chile require you to ask, but for what it's worth, Betterment entirely skips doing a risk questionnaire and let's you immediately choose a goal/portfolio. The signup funnel for financial services is long and brutal due to all of the PII you have to collect, so making it shorter is usually a big win.

Overall very impressed though! Awesome to see this sort of stuff launching in markets outside of the US.

bbrunner - 2 days ago

Hi Agustin! First of all, congrats! I think I must have been one of the first 100 or so users of Fintual and am constantly pitching how cool the onboarding is and how simply you explain the service. On that regard, I’m sure I have pushed 5 of my close friends and colleagues to invest in the platform and the first feedback I get is how stable their investments seem to be. I do get a lot of un faithful responses from people who don’t trust online services with their money... they compare it to bitcoins and crypto markets... here’s my first feedback, I think you need to work on explaining how and where your funds are being invested. I have experience on traditional banking investments and I see the same pdf document my bank used to pitch their funds at me. You should work on that.

Another I miss, and have to start tracking on my own is the fluctuations of my investment. I am a bit of a control freak and keep an spreadsheet with the percentage earned each day. It be great to have that info within the platform. Every time I show it to my friends they seem to trust the platform a bit more. That’s another... more data, easier it is to influence others to join.

Sorry if this seems like a feature request! :P

kemeny - 2 days ago

For non chileans, in the 'preguntas frecuentes' page, could you use CLP$ to distinguish it clearly from US$?

primodemus - 2 days ago

Hey Agustín, Nico Goles here.

Just wanted to write here to congratulate you and your team. I've been following what you guys have been doing for many, many years, and you have never ceased to impress me.

Since I've been living here in San Francisco, I've gotten quite into personal finance and retirement investment. I've wondered many times why my family there in Chile can't have access to some of the tools available here. Having read your post and done a bit of research the reasons seem pretty clear to me.

Thanks for working on such a meaningful solution, I've already recommended it to several family members.

Good luck to you and the team, and if I can help with anything don't hesitate and reach out :)

Best, Nicolás

MrGando - 2 days ago