Motif is a FinTech startup creating a new type of investing platform. You can think of them as a merger between social networks and traditional online brokerages such as eTrade. Unlike a traditional brokerage account where you buy individual stocks or ETFs, customers invest in portfolios built around themes or concepts called motifs. These "motif" portfolios are auto-weighted baskets of up to 30 stocks or ETFs. Examples include aging population, robotics, pets, mobile devices, infrastructure rebuild, online gambling, national defense, and more that can be seen here. Customers can invest in hundreds of existing motifs or construct their own. When others invest in their motif customers receive a commission. The company also offers limited early access of IPOs to retail investors. Customers can either pay per trade or enroll in a monthly subscription plan for unlimited trades.
The company was started in June 2010 and is based in San Mateo, California.
Why I like Them
I like the creativity and innovation in their product offerings as they make investing fun for people with otherwise no interest in finance. By all account the ability to invest thematically and around concepts is much more understandable and even seen as fun by average consumers. There is also a strong social aspect to using motif's product with an active community formed around each motif. I especially like the commission feature earned by motif creators when others invest in their concept.
There is no hiding the fact however that they are in a fiercely competitive industry with a host of large players. It remains an open question on how easily copied the ideas and communities behind motifs are if the company truly starts to break out.
Disclosure: All information is from publicly available sources, I have not had any contact with a member of the company or its investors.