AlphaMolly: Jake Griffith

AlphaMolly is an investor platform which aims to simplify the world of investing for a new generation of stakeholders, by empowering user investment decisions with accurate and accessible market data.

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Written and reviewed by:
Helena Young

Name of founder(s): Jake Griffith
Age(s) of the founder(s): 48
Location: London
Date launched: 8 March 2021
Number of employees: 3

Which university, if any, did you attend?

London Guildhall

What does your business do?

We think the process of investing should be simpler. There are over 20k Exchange-traded funds, over 200k Mutual Funds, and thousands of stocks that an investor could select. But how does an investor select the right ones? How do they keep aware of the investment horizon? How do they track and monitor investments and their performance? How do they measure the success of an investment? We hope to answer these questions by building personalised investment horizons, and automating the tracking and monitoring of an investment portfolio, giving investors need-to-know information so that they can make timely investment decisions.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

Working in banks, you have the opportunity to implement a lot of interesting real-time technologies that are used to mitigate the risk of financial loss. In the retail space, customers are left to do these things themselves. Over the last ten years this has been amplified by the growth of the new breed of investor platforms targeting millennials. They are rushing to the market with the incorrect promise that investing has become simple. We have all made losses at some time, and are forever frustrated that platforms could have done more to protect us. After all, we are saving for a house deposit, paying off debts, or perhaps even to start a business.

How did you know there was a market for it?

Our core statement is that people don’t invest because of low-cost fees, they invest to see growth. Platforms focus on generating revenue from transaction fees, either hidden or direct, but are not really focused on what the customer actually wants. Initially, we conducted our research by focussing on performance, in order to gauge the markets’ understanding of what performance is and how people track and monitor it. We were not surprised to learn that for younger investors, performance was thought to be simply the gain due to market moves. From more seasoned investors, we learned that whilst they understood what performance is, there was a common frustration that it was not available on their investor platforms.

What were you doing before launching your business?

I (Jake Griffith) am the founder of Alphamolly. I have two co-founders, Ketan Soni and Prashant Patil. I met Prashant several years ago whilst working at Credit Suisse. We both met Ketan whilst working on a market risk VaR calculation engine for NatWest Markets. Collectively, we have over 45 years financial services experience within asset management, investment banking, hedge funds and financial data organisations.

Have you always dreamed of starting a business?

I’ve never really had the passion to spend my career working for other people. It’s more than starting a business, it’s building an organisation that is diverse, inclusive, and gives people the recognition that they truly deserve. Spending years working in large corporates just led to greater frustration and an ability to do things the right way. It’s not been easy though – the decision to transition is pretty frightening.

How did you finance your business?

To date we have been self-funded. Now, we are in the process of seeking further investment.

Explain your business model and how you make money.

We offer a simple subscription model. We would love to be free but the data that we utilise comes at a cost.

What are the main challenges you have faced? And how did you overcome them?

Spending a year building a prototype during the pandemic whilst being a father, husband, daddy day-care for a two-year-old, and dog walker. It has been tough!

What has your experience been of starting a business during a pandemic?

There’s been an inability to network and meet people. As a founder, I recognise the merit of being able to meet in-person and discuss what you are working upon. Covid took this away and probably pushed us back six months.

Describe your first breakthrough.

Understanding how we are going to do what we do. It’s easy to consider us as similar to other Fintech startups, but we don’t need to compete with them. We actually function as a complementary add on to the service that they offer – which was significant in how we understand our problem space and how we look to deliver our solution to the customer. Then, we came up with Molly and it all seemed simple.

How has Brexit impacted your business? Do you think it will in the future?

Yes. Funding opportunities are different now as a result of a potentially smaller market. We never set up to be a UK-focused startup, however with Brexit there seems to be a view that we need to make the UK market work before we can obtain funding. But in the personal investing space, the rates of investing in the UK compared to other countries is generally quite low. We’ll just have to get on and deal with it.

What advice would you give to other aspiring business owners?

Don’t wait, do it whilst you are young and before you have a family and commitments. It puts a massive strain on home life and relationships and you need a strong partner to keep things going.

What is one resolution you have for your business this year?

We need to transition from prototype to startup. It was one thing understanding how we were going to do the great stuff we were planning, now it’s about making that happen by building the team. Funding comes first though!

How do you see your business developing in the next three years?

We would like to grow beyond the UK. We see the growth in current breed of investor platforms giving us a potential bigger customer base.

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Written by:
Helena Young
Helena is Lead Writer at Startups. As resident people and premises expert, she's an authority on topics such as business energy, office and coworking spaces, and project management software. With a background in PR and marketing, Helena also manages the Startups 100 Index and is passionate about giving early-stage startups a platform to boost their brands. From interviewing Wetherspoon's boss Tim Martin to spotting data-led working from home trends, her insight has been featured by major trade publications including the ICAEW, and news outlets like the BBC, ITV News, Daily Express, and HuffPost UK.

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