Currently, in the finance and investing world, there is a strong push for individual gains and success. It seems that financial investing ambitions and philanthropy can be mutually exclusive. However, we believe that by creating an investment platform that teaches and incentivizes people to donate part of their earnings to charitable causes, not only could more money reach those in need, but it also could ultimately create and promote a philanthropic culture among more people. We hope that our product could expand how investors view their investment gains, and this could even encourage people to invest for the sake of helping those in need.
What it does
We built a commission free, web trading platform that will allow users to trade stocks available on US exchanges. Investors can decide how much or what percentage of their gains will go towards the charities of their choice for each determined time period. Our platform will automatically process and send the money according to the user’s settings. Users are rated by tiers, which are determined by the user’s amount donated, percent earnings donated, and average percent return rate. Advancing in tiers will give the user more benefits, such as higher leveraging power, higher insurance loss protection, and access to our premium investment advice.
How we built it
As is good practice, we started out with a front-end framework. We knew that there would need to be all of the normal fields in any stock-trading application (i.e. account creation, user authentication, looking at your portfolio/current financial standings, searching up stocks, etc.), but also a large portion dedicated towards selecting charities. Due to the interactive interfaces and ease of use, we then decided to utilize Wix Code to develop our website and integrate necessary APIs (such as Robinhood), front-end UI/UX, as well as back-end code for any capabilities we wanted present on the website.
The UX was generated using many of the built-in functionalities within Wix.com. Our login authentication was set up using a combination of a Wix pop-up application, Facebook API, and Google+ API. The stock data was scraped from Robinhood to provide analytics and graphs; however, given the time constraint and hosting problems we ran into, we only imported to our Wix Stocks Database a portion of the most prominent corporations’ recent stock performance. Finally, we scraped a list of prominent charities online and displayed them on a separate page of the website, accessible after creating an account.
Challenges we ran into
The initial challenges we ran into were in the realm of the feasibility and sustainability of our ideas. How could we compete with current trading platforms, and how can we provide so many incentives and benefits without going bankrupt?
We found that by incorporating a tier system with potential benefits such as higher leverage ratios, partially insured losses, and access to our analysis, investors will see reason to use our platform (not to mention they may feel good that they are contributing to something positively impactful). Regarding the feasibility of the benefits, we have standards in order for people to advance in our tier system. For higher tier investors, not only are we more confident that they are competent investors (thereby us allowing them to leverage more), but we also see reason to believe that they also have made a strong social impact and will continue to do so (or even have the ability to donate more given a higher leverage). In addition, we partially insure the losses of investors according to their proven track record, and we are able to construct portfolios using options to insure them much their losses of their portfolio. Overall, we are able to generate revenue through investing the residual money of each user, and charge premiums for services such as instant transfer to banks.
The other challenges we ran into were primarily in creating the front-end login, search functions, and linking UI components to the Wix databases. For example, specifically, it was difficult to generate a search bar for looking up stock performances (stored in our database).
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud to have developed a proof of concept with a feasible business strategy that will achieve our goals. We were able to build a platform that was able to show a preliminary view of our final product. The team enjoyed working together and tackling problems throughout the hackathon because we are all passionate about achieving this vision.
What we learned
What's next for Charifund
We have successfully demonstrated the potential use of APIs of other platforms. This can be incorporated into our website to improve our trading capabilities and graphical interfaces. In addition, we will be working to improve the capabilities of the website in order to import all of the Robinhood data. A more dynamic search bar, stronger security, and a community forum and chat box are all future goals. We still need to run more business models especially regarding our tier system to more accurately determine the specific cutoffs that will continue to incentivize investors to use our platform while also allowing us to be self-sustaining.