Many people don’t invest even when they have the cash, citing confusion and the time it takes to weigh all the risks and benefits.
High school friends Matt Canning and Jim Keller, who are active investors, found their friends expressing these concerns when discussing investing.
Canning was a touring musician who spent the last five years in leadership roles at Comcast and Keller founded Context, a web strategy agency that merged with design firm Tabula Creative to form Eastern Standard.
After inquiring about investing patterns of different demographics, reasons for why people don’t invest and consulting with financial advisors, they began development last year for Forest.
Forest is a self-funded investing platform that simplifies the process by representing securities and transactions as forests, trees, planting, cutting down, harvesting and more.
Once users sign up, they are given a ‘forest.’ A tree in a forest is a group of five stocks, recommended by experts at the company. Users simply have to choose what types of companies they want to invest in, such as eco-friendly companies or East Coast companies.
Users also can choose a risk level: low-, medium- and high-risk trees, and can harvest the profits whenever.
The company launched its beta two weeks ago to several dozen people to receive feedback before opening it to a larger audience. The beta uses “play-money,” so no actual financial transactions are taking place.
Forest refunds up to 50 percent of losses if any of your investments lose value, in an effort to encourage new users to invest, but it’s unclear how they recoup those funds.
Keller says the company plans to seek partnerships with online brokerages and financial institutions by providing a front-end for their existing platforms.
Forest seems like an intuitive and easy way to get into investing if you have always been intrigued, but held concerns.