M1 Finance and MapD Point Toward Investing’s Future at FinovateFall

by on Oct 06, 2016


Hosted at the New York Midtown Hilton from September 8-9, FinovateFall 2016 brought countless fintech platforms to the attention of its more than 1,600 attendees, who got to see firsthand how new technologies might soon impact them as financial consumers. For those who couldn’t attend this year’s conference, Corporate Insight now highlights two presenting firms that may make a difference in investors’ lives in the near future:

  • M1 Finance – M1 is a robo-advisor that offers a middle ground between completely self-directed investing and managed portfolios for long-term-focused investors. Users can define an investing plan, which M1 refers to as a Pie, by selecting a model portfolio, similar to other robo-advisors. M1, however, also gives users control to define their own Pie or to modify model Pies, which founder and CEO Brian Barnes demonstrated by opening an account, selecting one of M1’s pies and then customizing it with FANG stocks. Once users decide their target allocation, M1 automatically rebalances, commission-free, with every deposit and withdrawal. In contrast, self-directed investors must analyze their portfolios, determine which securities are over- and under-weighted, and then set up a number of trades to balance their portfolios, paying a commission on each one. M1 helps investors avoid that process simply and easily and only charges an AUM fee of 0.35%, comparable to many robo-advice platforms. We expect the firm’s simple and easy-to-use model to influence the brokerage industry.
  • MapD – MapD is a database and visualization layer that harnesses the parallel power of GPUs to explure multi-billion row datasets in milliseconds. MapD’s Todd Mostak demonstrated how his service uses GPUs to explore multi-billion row datasets. While Mostak is a computer scientist and not an investor, he showed how MapD can be used to help investors make trading decisions using a huge set of New York City taxi pickups and drop-offs presented in an elegant visual interface that allows users to zoom and click on individual data points. Each data point was coded with the time and date, and the interface allowed Mostak to easily identify drop-offs at locations like Starbucks and Hilton Hotels over a specified time period, information that Mostak then compared to Hilton’s stock price in the same window to reveal an increase over time in Hilton drop-offs corresponded to a rise in Hilton’s stock price. While no retail brokerage could host MapD on their website, it’s possible firms could incorporate trading signals using MapD to enrich their research offerings and provide valuable trading ideas to self-directed investors.

Both M1 and MapD use cutting edge technology to make investor’s lives easier, though with different audiences in mind. While M1 is made for the long-term investor, we think MapD could have applications for an audience outside of its target of hedge funds and other high frequency traders. Either way, Corporate Insight is excited to monitor how both firms influence the industry.