The marketplace of stocks is a vast land that can feel innavigable at times. The masterminds who control money are aware of this and choose to capitalize on it by creating fintech apps geared specifically toward the market curious who are too intimidated to trade on their own. These kinds of apps, like Robin Hood, Acorns, or Digit, take trading from an elite brain game involving money to an automated background app that generates tens even twenties of dollars for users. The latest app to join this grand tradition is called Public, which launched in September not just as an automated trading option but as a social media platform, according to Forbes. What’s so interesting about another piece of fintech taking up space on your phone? The investors!
I often forget that people who make a lot of money don’t just use that money to buy things like purses or new faces, but they also choose to invest in products they either believe in or that they believe will turn a profit. In total, Public has raised $90 million to get itself off the ground with the help of funding rounds and rich-ass investors. Who exactly invested in Public other than some venture capitalists who get hard throwing money at things?
Tony Hawk, a legendary professional skateboarder, also participated in the latest round, as did Richard Parsons, a former chief executive at Time Warner and chairman at Citigroup, and the Chainsmokers, a production and DJ duo that invested through its Mantis venture capital fund. J.J. Watt, the Houston Texans’ defensive end, has also invested in Public, although he didn’t partake in the Series C round.
Tony Hawk, The Chainsmokers, and J.J. fuckin Watt are (somewhat) behind Public coming into existence. Granted, Watt and Hawk seem like normal, reasonable people who are successful at what they do and probably have an understanding of money, but how much am I willing to trust an app that they effectively gave their seal of approval to? Eh. Not much. As for the Chainsmokers, if you put any two white guys in front of me with microphones and said they were the Chainsmokers, I would believe you.
As for the app itself, it’s currently available in the US only and is marketed as having a “social-first” approach to trading. The one positive is that the app allows for new traders to buy fractional shares of a company if a full share is too expensive. This is not unique to Public—other trading platforms allow for executing fractional purchases—but it’s still a pleasant introduction for anyone looking to try the stock market on for size. Just remember to rub your original copy of Tony Hawk ProSkater three or four times before making any big trades.