STIX Financial is a payment platform that allows you to make payments by using your stocks as cash. Imagine if you could leave your money growing in the stock market and were able to buy a cup of coffee, groceries, or even pay for your dinner with your stocks! I had the opportunity to talk with STIX’s founders Ananiya, Ilan, Johnny, and Juvencio to learn more about their achievements and goals for their venture.
Passionate investors turned entrepreneurs
Given the founding team’s highly diverse background, it makes sense that they met over time and under different circumstances. Ananiya and Juvencio met abroad while studying at The American Embassy School in India, while Ilan and Juvencio met after matriculating at the University of Chicago during a course on emerging technologies, which sparked their interest in innovation and entrepreneurship. As Ilan continued to delve more into the world of technology he joined The University of Chicago Computer Science Instructional Laboratory as a Software Specialist, where he met Johnny.
Shortly after getting to know each other, they realized that they all were avid retail investors looking to earn returns on their savings. However, they also noticed how existing platforms failed to accommodate their needs, including how any invested money cannot be instantly spent and is stored in a completely different account, creating a conflict between investing and keeping liquidity for daily needs.
As the number of retail investors increased throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the team started to find more and more people having similar issues and needs. Moreover, as fractional share investing gained traction among small investors the problem grew larger, as people could now invest any amount of money in any share regardless of the stock’s price, reducing barriers to entry. With this in mind, the team set out to build STIX, a payment platform that allows users to make payments by using their stocks as cash.
” What we share in common is that all four of us are avid retail investors and that is why we are so passionate about STIX. This is a product that would completely revolutionize how we manage our money, and like us, we’ve found many different young retail investors looking for a way to get both returns and liquidity from their money.” – Juvencio Maeztu
A highly customizable platform
The team is working hard to launch their investment and payment platform, which at launch will include a payment card for each user and a mobile app where they can link their brokerage accounts, set up payment plans, and monitor spending.
STIX will allow users to customize which stocks to sell to cover any expenses incurred in the debit card through the following payment plans:
Sell fractional shares of a single stock.
Sell a select group of stocks.
Sell fractional shares of a select group of stocks (Evenly split the cost between each stock).
Sell fractional shares based on stock value relative to the portfolio (split according to weight).
Moreover, they are looking to launch a premium service that allows users to customize their payment strategies further with two plans:
Flex - Sell fractional shares of a select group of stocks that you handpick and assign what percent of the purchase each stock gets charged.
STIX Algorithm - Using tax-loss harvesting and quantitative trading techniques STIX selects which stocks to sell to maximize profits and minimize losses.
Early tailwinds and victories
STIX recently launched its landing page where individuals can sign up as beta testers and has received upwards of 600 signups only by sharing within the founder’s close networks. Moreover, they have launched social media profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram where they have received interest messages from potential users and investors. The team expects to continue to expand its audience and customer base organically through word of mouth and original content.
Looking to accelerate their rollout the STIX team applied to the 2021 College New Venture Challenge (CNVC), where they got accepted. Throughout the Developing a New Venture course they adopted a toolkit to evaluate the potential of an idea, research specific market opportunities, and how to pitch to investors. Additional topics included financial projections, product/technology development, legal issues for startups, and entrepreneurial marketing tactics.
With this in hand, STIX was selected as one of the six teams for the CNVC final round after a very competitive process, where they landed fourth place and $15,000 in funding by The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago.
“Our biggest take away from the competition was the amount of people we met, the relationships we made with them, and most importantly—how willing they were to help us build STIX.” – Ilan Naibryf
Fundraising efforts and next steps
The STIX team estimates they will need around $200,000 to develop their software, create a digital marketing strategy, and build the necessary security infrastructure. Moreover, they are looking to work with a legal team to obtain the necessary licenses, certifications, permits, and any other regulatory hurdles they may face. As such, they are actively fundraising and hoping to work with an investor that has the know-how and strong connections in the banking, payments and/or investment spaces.
If you are interested in signing up for STIX’s beta release or if you want to learn more, please head up to https://www.stixfinancial.com/signup and follow them in their social networks. If you have any questions for the team, feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.