In a Nutshell: Huddl is a new tech platform that aims to level the playing field when it comes to accessing high-quality financial products and services. Through its app, the company pools users’ money together to take advantage of banking and investment opportunities individual users may not otherwise have. Huddl partners with financial institutions and companies to connect its users to their services. The company also values delivering financial literacy resources to its users so they can manage their investments responsibly.
The people who need the most financial help are often the ones who are restricted from accessing the best products and services, it seems. Meanwhile, the more affluent enjoy perks like better investment options, better interest rates, and more opportunities in general to grow their money.
As a longtime leader in the finance industry, former Chief Operating Officer at BlackRock Stephen Corliss observed this scenario time and time again.
Recently — with the help of other finance experts like Vishal Karir — Corliss launched Huddl to help address this imbalance.
“The problem we saw in the space is that an institutional investor or a wealthy investor gets much better service and much better products at much lower fees than the average individual gets,” said Karir, who is Huddl’s Chief Investment Officer and former BlackRock portfolio manager. “That’s essentially the problem we’re trying to solve for.”
Huddl, with its iHuddl platform, uses the latest technology to put better financial opportunities in front of everyday people.
“Our mission is to channel the collective aspirations, networks, and buying power of the general public such that every individual derives the maximum monetary and functional benefit from their consumption and investing activities,” according to the Huddl website.
We recently spoke with Karir to learn more about the platform and how Huddl can help to equalize the playing field when it comes to accessing quality financial services.
Huddl Works Like an Investment Club for Smartphone Users
“Huddl works by pooling people’s ideas and capital together,” Karir said. “So, you can think of Huddl as an investment club on your mobile phone, where people come in and pool their assets.”
He said this approach to finance allows people to gain access to opportunities they may not otherwise be able to afford, such as meeting the minimum amount required to invest in a hedge fund or even certain high-tier banking accounts.
“Premium opportunities may be out of our reach individually, but not when we Huddl up,” according to the company website. “iHuddl seamlessly pools users’ money to unlock their collective buying power.”
This approach is beneficial for both investors and financial service providers, according to the company.
“Everyday investors pay lower fees and receive unprecedented access to investment managers, strategies and products through an easy to use mobile platform,” according to the Huddl website. “Providers benefit from expanded opportunity and direct access to end investors.”
Karir said Huddl includes a social component where users can exchange ideas and interact with others for a richer investment journey.
“They can talk about different things they’re interested in — say you’re interested in better savings accounts, or maybe you’re interested in certain stock and bond funds, or you’re invested in cryptocurrencies,” he said. “The platform is asset-class agnostic.”
This means that no matter what type of asset it is, if users are interested in gaining access to it, Huddl explores how to get it to them.
“We leverage our relationships and do the due diligence to bring high-quality products in whatever that asset class might be,” Karir said. “Then you can invest in those products directly from the Huddl platform.”
How the Platform Connects Consumers with Banking and Investment Opportunities
Karir explained that Huddl is not a financial institution itself, but rather, it leverages its technology to connect its users to quality banking and investment services.
“No more endless online searches and confusing jargon,” according to Huddl. “The iHuddl marketplace brings the best banks and Wall Street firms directly to you.”
This includes access to essential banking and investing options such as interest-bearing checking accounts, high-yield savings accounts, global stocks, and global bonds. The platform can also help users gain access to alternative investment options as well, like private equity investments, hedge funds, commercial real estate, and cryptocurrencies, according to the website.
Karir said the Huddl users are divided into subgroupings, depending on the type of products or services they are most interested in.
“Not every Huddl user has to invest in every product that’s available on the platform,” he said. “You can pick and choose. You can say, ‘I just want the savings account and really don’t care about anything else.’ Or, ‘I only want the diversified stock and bond fund.’”
And the amount of money to invest is totally up to the user, he said.
Karir explained if a group of customers want to invest in the savings account option provided by Radius Bank, who is a long-term partner, Huddl lumps their investments into one account, which is viewed by Radius Bank as the equivalent of one customer.
“Huddl’s unique approach unlocks consumers’ potential while providing them with unprecedented monetization and value creation opportunities to assist consumers in maximizing their savings and wealth and improve overall quality of life in their earning years and in retirement,” according to the company’s white paper.
Providing Financial Literacy Resources to Users is Important to the Company
Helping to educate Huddl users about the ins and outs of finance is equally as important as providing access to financial services, Karir said.
“Giving people access is just one part of it,” he said. “The other part is educating them. Let’s say you just got access to a hedge fund and you’ve never invested in a hedge fund before. The educational component becomes very important.”
He said giving people access to products and providing educational resources go hand-in-hand with good business practices and helping Huddl users succeed in their financial journeys.
To help support this component of Huddl’s service, the company maintains a robust financial literacy section called [L]earn on its website. [L]earn features informative articles on topics such as “Top Trends in ETFs” and “10 Best Student Loan Options.”
Additionally, users can find the latest Huddl news about company developments, new partnerships, and more.
Huddl also provides links to informative videos and finance podcasts on which Huddl’s founders have appeared.
Karir said the social component of the Huddl platform also plays an important role in the company’s mission to educate consumers about the products they are investing in. He said that stocks, bonds, and other investments naturally rise and fall with trends, and a solo investor may panic when he or she sees one of their stocks make a dramatic dip.
“Compare that with an experience where you’re part of a group and people are telling you to hang in there and not to sell,” he said. “You kind of need somebody to tell you that quickly, and that’s what your financial advisor would tell you. But for those who can’t afford to hire one, your investment group helps provide that kind of advice.”
Beta Testing and Collecting User Feedback
Anyone who is interested in gaining early access to Huddl can sign up on the company’s website by providing their email address.
Karir said the company is currently finalizing development on the platform and aims to launch in the U.S. by the end of the year.
“And the user experience will only get better as we start beta testing and collecting user feedback,” he said.
Ultimately, the company hopes to be open to markets all across the world to carry out its mission of helping the average person gain access to the best financial products and services.