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Motif Investing puts creative investors in business

Posted on October 4, 2013 at 10:30 am

Motif Investing is quietly growing its arsenal of institutional investors (Goldman Sachs invested recently in Motif), an A-list board of investors (former SEC chief Arthur Levitt joined recently), awards (best of show at Finovate), and its share of innovative new products.

Though CEO Hardeep Walla as much hinted at this possibility when I interviewed him for my podcast, Motif Investing introduced today a way for investors to make money from their ideas.

Called the Creator Royalty Program, this new product enourages investors to create their own portfolios (called, motifs) and pays them when another investor invests in their motif.

According to the WSJ:

“Under a “Creator Royalty Program” that Motif is set to announce Thursday, people who craft their own motifs can collect $1 for each person who subsequently invests in it. A user who creates a housing-market motif, for example, also would collect royalty payments when other users personalize the motif to add a little more Home Depot stock, and a little less weighting on mortgage brokers.

“Our idea is to let people monetize their ideas,” said Motif Co-Founder and CEO Hardeep Walia.”

This can clearly attract attention beyond individual investors. I know investment advisors are beginning to find value in the thematic investing service and its 1-click, low price portfolio building. But affinity groups could begin to brand portfolios that represent their interests. Not only does Motif Investing encourage investors to share their ideas, it compensates them for doing so.

Other online platforms that pay investors for ideas

Motif isn’t the only place investors can go to make money off their stock ideas. In an earlier post, I addressed this potential revenue model versus starting a hedge fund. Here are just a few ways people can get paid for their investment ideas:

  1. Seeking Alpha’s Premium Program: Seeking Alpha has been building a content warchest over the years and has upped the ante with a program that pays contributors a share of the ad revenue generated by their articles.
  2. Collective2: Collective2 (see my interview with the founder) is a marketplace of investment strategies. Individuals can create and trade a portfolio and investors can auto-trade those strategies they find interesting. System creators get paid a subscription fee when that occurs. (Check out my system: the Tradestreaming Hedge Fund Guru Strategy, up almost 70% over 2 years).
  3. Zignals: Zignals is very similar to Collective2 but if Collective2 has the user interface of Craigslist, Zignals is more like Microsoft. And that’s partly because Zignals is built on MSFT’s Silverlight technology. The sleek site has a lot more tools for designing portfolio: charts, alerts, screeners, etc.
  4. Currensee and etoro: These next generation forex trading sites both allow talented traders to open up their activity to others to follow. In return, they make money by doing this. If you have a good track record, you can make some serious change as you can also profit as part of a carry — if you’re profitable in your trading strategies, you can make a percentage of the money you make your followers.
  5. Start your own investment newsletter: This isn’t as turn-key revenue as some of the other options but certainly viable. It’s as easy a building a small website, sending periodic emails, and collecting a subscription payment.

Did I miss any?

Anyway, Motif is doing great things and building an investment platform that combines the low-cost do-it-yourself ethos with the interactivity and transparency of social. And now, the incentives to build, share, and profit from investment ideas just feels right…like Motif is headed in the right direction.

(If you’re interested,  I composed this beginner’s guide to Motif Investing a while back.)


  • Investing in distressed mortgages — with Jorge Newbery

    Posted on May 11, 2014 at 10:00 am UTC

    The Internet is opening up all kinds of new investment opportunities that many of us didn’t have access to before.

    One way real estate investors have made lots of money over time was by investing in distressed mortgages. But for an individual to buy a single mortgage is pretty complicated, let alone risky.

    Jorge Newbery founded American Homeowner Preservation (AHP), a crowdfunding site for accredited investors to invest in pools of distressed mortgages earning between 9-12% per year — all with a focus on helping people stay in their houses longer.

    Jorge joins me on the Tradestreaming Podcast to discuss how investors should think about investing in distressed mortgages, the types of returns they should expect, and the growing popularity of this investment.

    About Jorge Newbery

    Jorge Newbery of American Homeowner PreservationJorge is the CEO and Founder of American Homeowner Preservation. He has been a principal in mortgage, property management and real estate brokerage firms

    Listen to the FULL episode

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  • Stuck on publishing a book? Join us for the MEBINAR, Meb Faber talks publishing, books, and the investment field

    Posted on October 14, 2013 at 12:56 pm UTC

    Very excited to be hosting the MEBINAR — Mebane Faber joins me tomorrow for an intimate chat mebane faber, author of Ivy Portfolioabout his experiences with publishing investment books (the best selling, The Ivy Portfolio and new book, Shareholder Yield).

    Meb is a publishing powerhouse with a portfolio that includes one of the most downloaded whitepapers in history.

    What you’ll learn

    Specifically, I’ve asked Meb to share

    • how he conceived of his book and why the subject matter…MATTERS
    • his process in finding a publisher
    • tips on successfully marketing a finance book

    And, I want to know how Meb became a modern-day finance celebrity:-)

    Learn more and sign up for the MEBINAR here


  • Update: Fintech M&A, circa 2013

    Posted on October 10, 2013 at 10:15 am UTC

    From Berkery Noyes, an independent iBank with some great industry data, comes an update on mergers and acquisition activity in the fintech space.

    Q3 2013 KEY TRENDS

    • Total transaction volume in Q3 2013 increased by 21 percent over Q2 2013, from 77 to 93.
    • Total transaction value in Q3 2013 rose by 55 percent over Q2 2013, from $5.5 billion to $8.5 billion.


    • Davis + Henderson’s acquisition of Harland Financial Solutions, a provider of software and services to fi nancial institutions, was the largest transaction in Q3 2013, with an acquisition price of $1.6 billion.
    • The industry’s most active acquirer year-to-date was Thomson Reuters with nine transactions. Five of these occurred in Q3 2013: BondDesk Group LLC, Bisk CPE and CPA Test Prep Division from Bisk Education, Inc., Omnesys Technologies, SigmaGen

    For more transactional information on fintech, check out MandASoft


  • Digital subscribers surpass print at Financial Times

    Posted on October 9, 2013 at 2:33 pm UTC

    I remember during the Internet bubble, the financial media would look to bellweather stocks, like Cisco, to represent how the stock market was moving.

    The Financial Times (along with its stateside brother-from-another-mother, the Wall Street Journal) is a bellweather of financial media.

    So, when the venerable FT reaches an inflection point where its digital subscribers surpasses those from print, I think it’s fair to extrapolate that out that — hey, we’re really there…

    According to Paid Content:

    “Work will shift from night to day, when people are actually online reading. “[The] 1970s-style newspaper publishing process — making incremental changes to multiple editions through the night — is dead,” Barber wrote. “In future, our print product will derive from the web offering — not vice versa.” Journalists will “publish stories to meet peak viewing times on the web rather than old print deadlines.”

    Though it may have taken longer for finance to embrace digital (from a media consumption point of view), when the FT has 100k more digital subs than print, it’s time to say we’ve arrived.

    Extending this out further in the financial ecosystem

    So, couple of thoughts about the move to digital.

    • I was early to the Finance 2.0 movement. Many of the next-generation finance companies I covered in my book are still around but they haven’t quite trampled the incumbent players. Are we reaching a point where we’re going to see more mass adoption of these tools like Motif Investing, Wealthfront, and Covestor?
    • Curation becomes as important as original content: Seeking Alpha has it right. In a digital age of investing, print is so late to the game. Curation becomes paramount as news moves faster and the trading-side of the investment game moves faster.
    • Do financial content and investing get closer to one another? Investment platforms understand that content is what brings new investors in the door (see the job Mick Weinstein is doing at Covestor), but I’m not convinced it makes them stay. Are we going to see that change?

    What do you think of the news? Let me know in the comments.

    BTW, if you’re interested in getting serious about publishing a finance book, check this out.


  • How to globally navigate your way to retirement — with Aaron Katsman

    Posted on October 8, 2013 at 3:34 pm UTC

    Retirement planning is tricky.

    Retirement GPS by Aaron Katsman

    With interest rates so low, people are struggling finding good, solid fixed income investments. Ignoring the global economy is simply not a reality any more.

    Aaron Katsman, financial advisor and author of the new book, Retirement GPS,  joins me on Tradestreaming Radio to discuss global investing for retirees and why international investing is critical for your retirement portfolio.

    Listen to the FULL episode

    About Aaron Katsman

    Aaron Katsman, author of the GPS InvestorAaron Katsman is CEO of Lighthouse Capital, LLC, a boutique investment firm serving a global clientele. A regular contributor to SeekingAlpha, he is the author of GPS Investor. His new book is Retirement GPS (Amazon)

    Continue Reading »


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About Tradestreaming

Tradestreaming is a community of investors learning directly from experts. I’m Zack Miller, investor, entrepreneur, and founder of Tradestreaming.com and I literally wrote the book on how to invest in the age of Facebook and Twitter. Tradestreaming is the resource I’ve created to help me become a better investor.  I believe it will help you … Continue Reading