In light of the GameStop memestock saga, more Americans are beginning to participate in the stock market, and the Grifin app is looking to help new retail investors learn the ropes by encouraging them to invest in businesses they are familiar with.
Aaron Froug, founder and CEO of Grifin (which stands for Greatest Revolution in Finance Is Now), told Cheddar that he wanted to make investing as simple as possible for beginners.
"Investing, there's a lot of emotions that go into it. It's hard, and so I think we just wanted to create something that was a little bit more human and a simple way for anybody to get started so that they could feel confident enough and excited enough to be able to do it themselves," he said.
The "simple" concept behind Grifin's rapid rise took off after a viral TikTok video circulated on the internet pushing the app to near the top of the download charts.
"TikTok is incredible. It's absolutely amazing," Froug stated. "We posted just one video, and it changed our lives overnight. So, I think we're just so thankful to the community. We were number 11 overall in the entire app store because of that video."
So how does it work? Users link their bank accounts to their Grifin account and shop as normal. Wherever a user shops, a dollar will automatically be invested into that company. If a user happens to shop at a store that is not publicly traded, a dollar will be stored in an interest-bearing account in which funds then could be used later to invest in publicly traded companies.
In January, when apps like Robinhood halted trading on companies like GameStop and AMC, it opened a can of worms bringing to question the legal and ethical considerations of preventing retail investors from participating. For Froug, it became important to truly protect investors while maintaining the simplicity of the app.
"We built the app to kind of have its own guardrails, and so there's no options, there's no margins," he explained. "Basically, you can set a monthly limit within it so if you only want to put away a certain amount a month, you actually can do that, as well as you can only invest in the companies that you spend with. So, it really is a limited universe."