Inaam: Reinventing Investing to Change the World
What prompted you to found Inaam?
Deep lived experience with the problem of not knowing how or where to invest your money. My co-founder and I have seen what can happen to a family when you don’t know how and where to invest your money.
My father was one of South Africa’s leading entrepreneurs in pharmaceuticals. Unfortunately he didn’t know much about how or where to invest his money. This led to him making a very poor investment that ended up costing him his entire life's savings, in the millions, and 5 years later, his life. Not knowing how or where to invest cost us everything, as a young person who had to take care of his mother. I found myself in the same situation. I didn’t know how or where to invest my money, I knew then that it would become my life's mission to make sure that no family would have to go through something like this ever again, and I am grateful every day to be able to take small steps to deliver on that vision.
After speaking to over 300 people we realised we were not alone. We just want to make sure no family has to go through what we did and so we made Inaam to empower every single generation here on out to make the best and most informed investment decisions for their people and their planet :)
Can you explain what Inaam does? What would you say is your value proposition?
Inaam curates and creates custom portfolios of listed impact stocks from every single stock market on the planet just for you.
We ask our customers 3 simple questions and use this information to build a unique investor profile for them. Each question forms part of their investment literacy journey, which is tagged to our portfolio universe. We use this unique profile to build them a tailor made portfolio addressing their needs and wants ensuring the best returns for them too.
We also then go and execute that portfolio on their behalf. This means buying those stocks for them, managing their portfolio, managing their taxes, dividends and capital gains all in one place. No jargon, no bulls*t, full transparency.
These portfolios are 100% customisable, allow you to learn as you go, consist of 10-15 stocks (not overwhelming and still provide diversification), provide access to global financial markets, not just the US and Aus and allow you to track your impact $ for $ - we’re talking trees planted, animals protected, renewable gWh of energy produced, and CO2 emissions prevented. This is granular information that exists but has never been repurposed to be understood or presented to retail clients.
It’s boring, it’s efficient, it’s investing in impact made as simple as possible all while educating you along the way! #yaaas
If you could, tell us about your target market and why your business is attractive to them?
Our people are young Australians aged 18-30 years old who are earning and income and are socially aware.
Our research has shown us that while not knowing how and where to invest is the core problem faced by our audience (82% of interviewees said they wanted to learn more about how or where to invest their money), the unique insight we garnered was that the impact these investments made on the planet were far more important to them (93% respondents wanted their investments to make an impact).
This is why we’re giving the people what they want, an app that shows you how to invest your money, tells you exactly where it is going to be invested and exactly what impact it is going to have $ for $. We also embed investment literacy right into the process. What that means is that you learn by doing instead of having to learn independently, and execute independently.
BUT the buck doesn’t stop there. At Inaam, we reinvest our own profits back into the impact ecosystem to back young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, people and women of colour to ensure we act as the vehicle that directs capital to propagate impact through and through with what we like to call The Inaam Impact Loop. So when it comes to impact, Inaam is your one stop shop.
What is your perspective on the shifting landscape of investing and what trends do you see younger investors valuing?
I believe it is what is deemed as “micro-investing” these days, whilst I totally agree that micro-investing is the way forward for the future, it really is just good investing. If we look to history and previously successful investment managers like Buffet and Dalio - their portfolios have never consisted of more than 10-15 stocks or asset classes - this is just something that has been played close to the vest of HNIs and institutional investors, it’s about time retail investors were given the same opportunity.
So the trend is definitely going towards smaller, more manageable and understood portfolios, more importantly, people are tired of the ESG garb because it has so many different subjective definitions. ESG Investing is not Impact Investing, ESG was the first step, Impact investing is the final frontier and guess what, people care about impact!
People now want measurable impact. The answer to the question: Can I see the difference this has made in someone’s life? That’s what we’re giving people with Inaam the ability to see the change and feel the change.
Lastly, young people are tired of existing alternatives highlighted below:
- Invest in a sustainable ETF: bucket of >100 companies some of which you've never heard of that you have to "trust" are doing good - some companies included are Bega Cheese, BHP Biliton and JB Hi-Fi - now while these aren't "bad" companies they don't exist to make the planet a better place - no thank you.
- Approach a Financial Advisor: this costs >$3-$5k annually before you've even invested any money and advisors tend to push products that they earn the highest commission for instead of what you as a customer want to invest in - seriously?! Nah uh.
- Choose between pre-determined micro portfolios that are good for you: young people don't like being told what they should do, they want to feel empowered by their choices. They want to have the freedom of choice. Existing retail products do not allow this freedom or level of customisation because their business models are built around economic efficiency not customer satisfaction.
Note: Often we hear the FinTech space is crowded and difficult to win with this specific customer group. We appreciate this sentiment but counter this perspective with a simple truth we are made for young people by young people. Existing apps are trying to sell what they think the target customer will like without being the target customer this is our unfair advantage - we are the customer. We are unique in both our target audience and how we get to that target audience and communicate with them.
How does Inaam tackle the role of financial education among young people?
We embed investment literacy right into the investment process. This means you learn by doing, which is the most proven way for the brain’s cognitive ability to grow.
You don’t have to learn independently on some other platform or service and execute independently elsewhere (much like our flawed centuries old education system), you learn and you do, all in one place - Inaam.
Also, our literacy component isn’t a precursor to being able to invest, it is not “forced” or thrust upon you, you learn as you go, if you want to, at your own pace. We make the literacy available to you for your own empowerment every step of the way.
The best example is, when choosing stocks to go into your portfolio, we show you some high level profitability indicators of the business such as EBITDA - now you might not know what that means or have forgotten one of the letters - just hit on the “?” next to the word and you can learn about it right there! BAM! In case you’re wondering what it stands for - it means Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation - sign up to the waitlist for a more in depth definition haha.
Why is it so important now more than ever to focus on improving financial literacy?
As Australia’s population transitions from the majority being an older demographic to a younger demographic, it becomes increasingly important to ensure this demographic makes the right financial decisions, not only for themselves but also for future generations.
Without having the right knowledge on where your capital is going and what it is funding we could inadvertently end up funding out own demise. Further knowing how you can financially secure not only your future but that of your future generation is the most powerful form of empowerment.
What happens if we don’t improve financial literacy? I strongly believe that financial literacy amongst young Australian's and young people around the globe is a major social problem.
While many may not perceive this to be a social problem ~60% of young Australian's have experienced financial stress during this pandemic as per a published NAB report.
The lack of adequate financial literacy and especially investment literacy around how or where to invest amongst young Australian's, particularly those that may come from underprivileged backgrounds has severe social effects on our community.
The main issues resulting from poor financial and investment literacy include - prolonged debt cycles, bad credit, inability to invest and grow income which inevitably sparks the cycle of poverty, poor mental health and financial duress which leads to toxic familial and work environments and may also encourage crime.
The inherent effects on our financial system itself are more long term but more severe, if young people aren't aware about how to manage their money or aren't investing their money adequately this means that the economic system will lack large-scale retail public investment and thus could potentially lead to economic stress.
While this is a doomsday scenario it is one that stems from a simple lack of financial literacy which is why at Inaam we believe investing in it and working towards solving this problem for the rest of our lives could help alleviate a multitude of social issues.
Can you explain Inaam’s scalability and its future focus?
The problem we’re solving is not unique to Australia, we’ve validated this problem across the UK, the US, India, South Africa and Indonesia, so once we’ve launched and perfected the product in Australia we’re going to be scaling this model across the globe. When we said we want to reinvent investing to change the world we weren’t joking.
Our future focus is to become the Impact Engine of the Future and to build out our investment offering to include fixed income securities (AAA debt funds, Green Bonds etc) and move into the workplace by mandating a portion of employee salary into an Inaam Impact Portfolio to support employers in improving the financial wellbeing of their employees and finally build out a purposeful blockchain to allow retail clients to make private market impact investments.
Can you elaborate on how investment opportunities can be expanded for Inaam users?
Of course! Our goal is to provide a full suite of impact investing opportunities. While we’re starting off with a fixed universe of impact stocks, we’ll be expanding that universe as we grow and bring in new asset classes such as fixed income to support the expansion of investment opportunities for our users.
What success has Inaam had and what are your short and long term goals?
As of the 29th of June 2022 we’ve officially been appointed a Corporate Authorised Representative of Cache Invest, this means that Inaam can now officially offer financial services! A huge milestone for us.
We are in the process of closing a day 1 target member database of 620,000 members (120,000 already secured through our partnerships).
We have a working MVP Prototype!
We’ve been featured in the Climate Salad Climate Tech Industry Report!
We won the Startup Victoria FinTech Pitch Night and held in person events with the Melbourne Microfinance Initiative and Melbourne Business School AND been on 3 podcasts! One with Equity Gals, one with Internash and one with Greenfluence soon to launch so we can spread the word!
Got into the final round of Startmate! (Top 27 out of 307 applicants).
We’ve expanded our team to 7 members and just got our first Intern!
Kicked off our pre-seed fund raise and hoping to close by the end of this month! Raised $175k from Angels to prepare us for launch in 16 weeks.
Our short term goal includes launching the product on the app store in the next 16 weeks and bringing on board a head of community to scale our member base to the moon.
Our long term goal is to obtain product market fit by iterating with our customers and perfecting the product to take to the global stage.
Some metrics we will track other than the trees we’ve planted, animals we’ve protected, CO2 emissions we’ve prevented and renewable energy we’ve generated through our portfolio companies are:
- 100 million global customers;
- 100% improvement in investment literacy for our customers;
- $10 billion reinvested in the impact ecosystem;
- $100 billion impact AUM;
- The world's go-to for anything related to money and impact.
Finally, moving forward, how will technology like the blockchain network impact Inaam?
While we don’t want to be another buzz word, web3 blockchain startup, we can’t ignore the technological benefits and intersection of blockchain and finance. As such we want to actually try to solve a problem by employing this technology. So Inaam will be working on building its own purposeful blockchain to power a DAO (decentralised autonomous organisation) that provides retail clients access to private market impact opportunities through pooled funding and also allows us to track the impact $ for $ on chain! Exciting things to come in our 24 month plan!