April - 2014 - issue > Cover Story

Motif Investing: Revolutionizing the Online Trading and Investment Industry

Rachita Sharma
Thursday, April 3, 2014
Rachita Sharma
A lot can happen over coffee. Hardeep Walia, Founder & CEO of Motif Investing, an online investing company that lets people invest in ideas and trends will agree wholeheartedly. It was over breakfast that he convinced Gary Cohn, President and Chief Operating Officer of Goldman, Sachs & Co to invest in his unique venture that has created a highly cost effective platform that lets people invest in motifs or portfolios of 30 stocks which are built around an idea or an industry trend. The company raised a whopping $25 million series C funding lead by the investment banking giant in April, 2013. This deal brought the company's cumulative funding to a staggering $ 51 million, a herculean feat for any young start-up. The other investors to put their trust in the company are Ignition Partners, Foundation Capital and Norwest Venture Partners. A keen strategist Walia did not approach every investor to fund his dream project. "Instead of knocking on every investor's door, we chose to approach a select few who had a deep understanding of the industry," adds Walia. The strategy worked and within two years of being in business the company is poised to take the industry by storm.

So, was it a stroke of luck that worked in favour of the company or was it strategic planning and a unique idea that did the trick? It was a combination of all these. Walia who is a passionate investor himself came up with the novel concept of Motif by taking a look at the challenges that the industry and investors faced. "Everywhere around the world, people are discussing and coming up with great investing ideas. However there is no easy way to turn every idea into an actionable investment. Even when there is, the cost is often prohibitive," explains Walia. Motif identified this gaping hole and solved the problem by building a user friendly intuitive platform that allows individual investors to invest in a professionally built basket or motif of 30 stocks. The concept of a motif is rather simple and similar to an Exchange Traded Fund (ETF). It is a carefully researched and intelligently weighted portfolio of up to 30 stocks that reflect real-world trends and investment ideas. Be it the latest economic, industrial and political swings or the most popular investing strategies, Motif Investing has a motif for it.

The platform puts users or investors in a favourable position as they not only gain powerful investing ideas but also have complete control over their portfolio. People can see exactly what stocks and ETFs are present in each motif. Users also have full control to either customize a motif or build one right from scratch.

The Price is Right

The idea to build Motif Investing had been brewing since 2010, a time when the markets were recovering from the stock market crash of 2008-09. Walia realized that it was not a favourable time to be an investor. "2008 was a terrible year for investors. Not only did they lose trillions of dollars in net worth but they had to pay out billions of dollars in management fees. We knew we had to change that," says Walia. The company hit the nail on the head by making the process of investing highly cost effective.

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