Stackwell Partners With Kunai to Launch Investing App to Help Black Americans Build Generational Wealth
Stackwell is a seed-funded fintech startup managing an investment and education platform of the same name. The platform is designed to demystify investing, increase stock market participation in the Black community, and eliminate the racial wealth gap by empowering a community of Black investors.
The Black community has a historically low incidence of equity ownership, even when compared against non-Black households in the same income brackets. This directly contributes to a lack of generational wealth across Black communities.
There are many issues that lie at the core of the trust gap that drives underinvestment in the Black community. Chief among them are a lack of knowledge, lack of expertise, perceived lack of income, and a lack of trust in the stock market and financial institutions due to historical structural discrimination.
Despite a very strong desire to build wealth, traditional investment options like the stock market convey a sense of mistrust, intimidation, and unreliability. To increase investment participation and help members of the Black community build lasting, generational wealth, Stackwell would have to acknowledge and address the fears associated with these issues.
“I started Stackwell because I was no longer willing to ask permission for us to truly build equity and wealth in the Black community,” says Trevor Rozier-Byrd, CEO of Stackwell.
In order to help Black Americans build financial stability and wellness through investing, Stackwell sought to create a mobile app to simplify investing and promote financial literacy with an extremely minimal buy-in to show that building wealth can and will start with little.
Empowering Black Investors
The idea was to introduce a friendly and easy-to-understand investing experience to Black Americans. By presenting a transparent and simple interface, Stackwell could disseminate the tools, knowledge, and guidance to help close the racial wealth gap.
Many Black Americans today have been citing technology-based assets as their first investment experience. This could be a potentially very dangerous decision due to unreliable, but highly persuasive social media influences. However, this trend is symptomatic of a more positive outcome: there is more discourse regarding investing amongst Black Americans and their loved ones.
Should an accessible platform like the Stackwell app be introduced to Black communities, it could prove to be a powerful vehicle for wealth generation in Black communities across the United States.
It was during this time that Stackwell approached Kunai in 2021 to help design, build, and deploy the Stackwell App.
“I knew that the rest of the leadership and I were on-board before the meeting even ended. That’s a vision and a cause that you don’t often get the chance to really contribute to. Trevor and the Stackwell team had a grand vision that we wanted to support. Man, what a privilege,” says Omeid Eshraghi, Senior Product Manager at Kunai.
Kunai’s proven track record of building and launching fintech products for Fortune 500 companies as well as their deep expertise with the necessary integrations and platforms to build the Stackwell app made them the perfect development team to tackle this project.
A Comprehensive Approach
Building out Stackwell’s main feature-set came down to three main directives:
Tackling the experience barrier with automated portfolios
Tackling the the income barrier with low buy-in
Tackling the knowledge barrier with educational resources
Kunai made the decision to deploy the app on AWS Cloud Services, and proceeded to build the Stackwell app using ReactNative while integrating Plaid, Apex, and Stripe APIs to build out the core features for both iOS and Android native mobile apps.
Sidestepping the Experience Barrier
Stackwell’s main feature consists of various automated investment portfolios that get recommended to users based on their income, their goals, and their level of risk aversion.
To build this feature, Kunai utilized Apex’s robust investment and transactions API to enable users to perform deposits and withdrawals as well as allow Stackwell to manage the disparate investment portfolios.
Tackling the Income Barrier
Stackwell makes investing accessible and affordable with only a $1 monthly subscription, no hidden fees, and a low monthly recurring investment.
Plaid was utilized to facilitate easy money movement between the user’s brokerage account on Stackwell and their bank accounts. While transactions and management fees were facilitated by a combination of Stripe and Apex transactions API.
Dissolving the Knowledge Barrier
The Stackwell app includes a range of educational content to help users grow their knowledge and better understand the world of investing. This feature was built by utilizing AWS database features to store, recall, and present mostly unstructured objects.
Security and Compliance
Kunai’s boasts an up-to-date awareness of all the shifting compliance regulations across the financial industry. Having worked closely with Stackwell’s own compliance team, Kunai delivered a fully compliant, highly secure product adhering to modern software best practice.
All personal data and information is under 256-bit encryption and access to the app is under two-factor authentication.
Free-To-Use App: Stackwell
The Stackwell app reduces the barriers to entry preventing Black Americans from making confident investing decisions with their money. With automated portfolios backed by a powerful investing algorithm, users can invest like a pro without any prior experience or knowledge of financial mechanisms.
Stackwell takes the guesswork out of investing, giving Black Americans the tools and means to reliably grow their money and with minimal effort. This approach helps minimize risk and uncertainty for the customer, giving them more confidence in growing their wealth through investments.
Feature: Automated Portfolios
Stackwell’s automated portfolios are powered by a cutting-edge robo-advisor that provides a portfolio based on broad-based index ETFs tailored to the user’s needs. This allows users to invest without being overwhelmed by the tens of thousands of options out on the market.
Users don’t have to worry about picking the “right” stock and completely circumvent the need for expertise. Users of all backgrounds can invest with confidence right from the start.
The portfolio options are narrowed down considerably by a questionnaire that seeks to hone in on a user’s investment horizon, risk aversion, and investment objective (like buying a house or retiring).
The feature itself is built with a very simple, minimalist design to not distract the user or overwhelm them with too many options or complex jargon.
Feature: Low Buy-In
A low buy-in completely upends a common misconception with the stock market that pervades throughout many Black communities across the United States. There is a strong sense that an individual needs to have a lot of money to start investing.
Pre-existing wealth is one of the biggest “pre-qualifiers” that many Black investors feel they must meet before they are “allowed” to invest. Stackwell offers a highly affordable buy-in that also has the added benefit of showing users that investing in the stock market is not a short-term gamble– rather, it is patience that grows wealth.
Stackwell only requires a $10 investment minimum and a $1 monthly subscription fee with no hidden fees. The process is fully transparent, provides an accessible and affordable avenue for easy investing, and ultimately dispels the idea that investing is only for the wealthy.
Feature: Financial Literacy
Stackwell combines the ease, accessibility, and confidence that its investing app offers with financial literacy. Stackwell’s material is delivered in a manner that is culturally competent and considerate of proper representation.
These resources seek to demystify investing as well as spread awareness that lack of financial knowledge isn’t a barrier to wealth.
This feature includes a wide range of educational content designed to teach users to stay committed to their investments, to not be afraid of short term volatility, how to grow their knowledge, and how to better understand the world of investing.
Empowering the Next Generation Of Black Investors
Stackwell is committed to creating real, meaningful, generational change, and closing the racial wealth gap.
As Stackwell CEO Trevor Rozier-Byrd says, “Wealth is oftentimes built patiently, and it's something that can be built by anybody, regardless of where you come from.”
By providing the Black community with the tools and guidance they need to succeed, Stackwell is helping users embark on their own hero's journey of building lasting wealth, equity, and equal opportunity.
Through its partnership with Kunai and the implementation of innovative features, Stackwell is well on its way to achieving its goal of helping African American clients build wealth and close the racial wealth gap.
Stackwell is available on both Android and iOS, and the app is already making waves in the world of investing.