Stocial is today launching as a dashboard for stock news and a private social network dedicated to helping students learn the ins and outs of investing.
Stocial’s homepage is divided into three main sections: “Watchlist,” which displays information on user-selected stocks; “Market Pulse,” which surfaces stock-related news as it is pulled from various news outlets and Twitter; and a feature- and information-rich column that adds a social element to the whole thing.
With industry leaders such as Bloomberg providing access to the same financial information, and smaller rivals such as StockTwits offering similar social features, Stocial is banking on its student-facing features to differentiate itself.
Founder Fahad Kamr says his goal for Stocial, which he started in 2011 with $300,000 from family and friends, is to provide an educational platform for students to learn trading, and to provide trade ideas to their university endowment fund’s portfolio managers. “Our framework allows them to push their ideas onto Stocial and get feedback from other students and sector leaders,” Kamr says.
Encouraging student interest in stock trading requires a delicate balancing act. On one hand, students are able to work and learn more effectively if they can communicate with peers and mentors. On the other, knowing that your ideas will be broadcast for the whole world to see can limit risk-taking and the production of ideas.
Stocial keeps its universities section separate from the main site. “[Stocial is] creating a private Facebook-like wall within the university,” says Kamr, in an effort to walk the fine line between beneficial protections and collaboration-killing seclusion.
The service is free to all users and will monetize by offering widgets that update with the top financial news from various sources. Asked whether non-educational users would get access to the features that are currently only available to students, Kamr says not right now. “We want to make sure the feature is private to students’ setting. It’s making it easier to let students create and share ideas, so keeping it private encourages collaboration and sharing.”
Stocial isn’t going to revolutionize the financial industry. The company’s aggregation offerings can be found elsewhere, from dedicated Twitter lists to the aforementioned Bloomberg and StockTwits. Where it has the chance to make a name for itself, however, is with its education-facing products.