Grain: Simpler Investing

Grain is an investing app that simplifies investing through community and design. Founders Joe Muller and Federico Segura met at Notre Dame on the men’s rowing team where they recognized the power of working together. Additionally, they noticed a gap in what they were learning in their finance classes and practical financial information. Students were not investing in the stock market the way their parents and grandparents were. Joe and Federico set out to engage younger investors by combining education and community to create Grain.


Grain is named after The Wheat and Chess Board story in which a man creates the game of chess for his king. The king is so pleased with the game that he agrees to award the man whatever he wants. The man chooses a grain of wheat on the first square of the chess board, and then double that amount on the next square, and double that amount on the next and so on. The total number of grains can reach from earth to the closest star and back again. The name Grain is meant to demonstrate the power of investing and compounding.


Grain’s application will allow you to create an account or sync an existing account with another brokerage company. It will then walk you through a tutorial on how to easily understand ETF’s (exchange-traded funds). Grain makes its money through a small fee anytime a transaction is made. One of their goals is to inform consumers on what are the best decisions to make when investing in order to encourage people to invest. They know that even though you may be able to build a community, those community members may not be knowledgeable enough to advise you, therefore Grain will provide ratings for ETF’s that will allow users to make more informed investing decisions.


Additionally, they are able to differentiate themselves through their unique, intuitive, and aesthetically pleasing design that appeals to people who may be inexperienced in investing. Grain’s search function is also powered by IBM’s Watson, a strong technological differentiation.


Joe and Federico shared more tips on starting a business and being young entrepreneurs. They said that they often encounter UFO’s or UnForeseen Obstacles. They explained that they find the most successful entrepreneurs are those that are able to tackle these obstacles each and every day as soon as they occur. They also explained that listening to customers and people outside of finance has helped them create a better product. They focus on cultivating a relationship between Grain and their users and relationships through the community they build. Joe explained that the three key ingredients that every tech startup has are hipsters, hackers and hustlers. Or rather, those with vision, those with technological skills and those with business backgrounds. Grain has all three and is excited to expand their company and revolutionize and simplify the way younger generations invest.