In 2015, when Ankur Choudhary explored investment options, he couldn’t find any convincing set-and-forget solution. Around the same time, his banker friend Swapnil Bhaskar witnessed rampant mis-selling across financial offerings. A year later, the two had joined hands with another friend Savitri Bobde to start Goalwise.com, aimed at offering simple and transparent wealth management solutions to all, particularly the not-so-high networth individuals.
The start-up offers a unique set-and-forget, goal-based investing solution that can oversee all aspects of investing, including mutual fund selection, portfolio re-balancing and target tracking among others. “Besides providing a seamless investment experience through our website and app, the platform also facilitates one-on-one personal finance planning,” said Choudhary.
The company uses data-driven algorithms to help people plan and invest for a variety of needs, be it for house purchase, retirement, overseas travelling or simply to acquire wealth. A personalised goal plan is generated for each customer based on their age, risk appetite, income, expenses, and savings. It then suggests the amount one needs to invest every month and where they can be made. These include mutual funds, composition of asset allocation (debt vs equity ratio) and others.
“Our proprietary advisory engine — which is trademarked — monitors investments continuously to ensure that the investor is on track to achieve the financial targets,” he said.Unlike other platforms, which are mostly DIY platforms that require the investor to do all research, Goalwise undertakes research on behalf of customers to help in making informed decisions.
Given that the concept of goal-based investing is itself new, the company found it difficult to win customer trust. “The mutual fund industry is still at a nascent stage, with only 2 per cent of the population investing in it and a majority are skeptical. They would rather put their money in gold or real estate. So, we are faced with a double challenge to spread awareness about mutual funds and then get people to trust us with their investments,” he reasoned.
To overcome concerns, the start-up relied on transparency, disclosing all fee and commissions on the website. Moreover, the founders themselves offer customer support, dedicating time replying to emails and chats directly. So far, Goalwise has about 35,000 registered users (including overseas) across 400 cities and saw over 50,000 app downloads and its assets under management are about Rs 350 crore.
The company secured seed funding of $1 million in 2016 from HNIs and is currently in talks with new investors for series A round.As part of its expansion plans, it has also forayed into direct mutual fund plans, which are offered to customers without any commission. This allows investors to get a bigger bang for their buck as opposed to traditional mutual funds taken via distributors, which come at an additional cost.