In mid 2019, I was approached by Axis Investment, a startup who were paying close attention to investment apps like Robinhood and Stash, that were taking off in the States. They saw the UK as an untapped market and wanted to attract investors. Their idea was to introduce young people to investment, gamify the learning process and add a social component to keep people onboard. They approached me to help them define their product and lead the design of the app.
After a few months it became clear we were late to the party, with competitors emerging on a weekly basis. The project is no longer being actively worked on but I can share some of what we had planned.
Incentivising the smart option
Being designed for first time investors, Mercury teaches and incentives sensible investment behaviour. First, users are introduced to the key concepts behind investment. Further guidence is offered incrementally, so users aren't overwhelmed by jargon. Capital is at risk so the app encorages the user to develop a diversified portfolio and puts limits on how much can be spent and lost.
Lesson don't have to be learnt the hard way. Mercury takes advange of its medium, making the learning process interactive and playful. Dry subjects central to the market are made interesting by putting them in the context of historical events, providing context and adding a narrative to what would be otherwise esoteric. As an extra incentive, completing educational material rewards the user with further cosmetic customation for their avatar.
Confidence through context
Mercury features curated briefings on stocks, pulling in information about a company's history, leadership, key competitors and the industry they operate within. This briefing is designed to replicate the work of an investment analyist, empowering users to invest wisely.
Creating a community
Mercury is social, with users collaborating and competing to get the best returns on their investments. Their success is reflected through their avatar, an astronaut whose apperance and behaviour reflect that of the user. Users can form group chats with their friends with whom joint investments can be initiated.