2012 was in many ways uneventful for those of us looking at the investing tools space. Maybe it was general yawning at the stock market and less participation/caring about investing. Or maybe it was because little capital flowed to new, innovative investment tools this year (a few existing companies like Betterment raised money). That said, many of the existing investing tools in the marketplace are maturing. Products are getting easier to use and in general, gaining in popularity. Here's a group of 12 tools (you're welcome to add more below) that I believe were worth your attention this past year (I've interviewed many of the founders of these companies on my podcast). They are a smattering of new tools (like SmartAsset) and older ones (Lending Club just celebrated its 5th year anniversary) that keep getting better with time. Curious as to what you think -- full disclosure: I was an early hire at Seeking Alpha and still own woefully too few shares and I've consulted to Wall Street Survivor and Lending Club.
Top 12 investing tools of 2012(in no particular order)
- SmartAsset: So smartly designed and so necessary, it's a shame SmartAsset didn't launch years ago. It's like a Web 2.0 financial calculator that provides personalized advice to help answer the most common of financial decisions like "should I rent or buy?".
- QuantBlocks: QuantBlocks is a cool and powerful platform to help design and test quantitative trading strategies. The best part is that it doesn't require any programming expertise. It's just drag-and-drop simple.
- Seeking Alpha Pro: Recently launched, the price-point (around $200/mo) and the quality of the research on Seeking Alpha Pro makes it primarily for professional investors. Of higher quality than general posts on SA, Pro is intended to raise the bar of Seeking Alpha's exclusive content and cement its role as the open destination to head online for stock research.
- Wall Street Survivor: Wall Street Survivor is the investor's CodeAcademy. It's designed for beginners and intermediate investors alike. WSS provides very specific, action-based missions for learning the ins-and-outs of investing.
- Motif Investing: Motif Investing is a platform for idea-driven investing. If you're looking to create a low-cost portfolio of stocks around a specific idea, Motif is pretty interesting.
- SprinkleBit: SprinkeBit has bold goals and that's to provide a one-stop-shop for younger investors. It combines the social sharing and learning with a brokerage platform.
- Reading the World: Russel Redenbaugh's new newsletter is based upon decades of experience with policy-driven investing. It examines big macro trends and how government/economic policy impacts such movements.
- OurCrowd: There are a lot of crowdfunding platforms waiting for the JOBS Act to really hit but OurCrowd is already up and running and funding some top Israeli startups. For accredited investors only, investors can build a startup portfolio with increments as small as $10k.
- Lending Club: The peer lending network just celebrated its 5 year anniversary and $1B in assets. Together with smaller competitors, the peer lending industry is underwriting about $100M in loans every month now. LC Notes are becoming de rigeuer in diversified income portfolios (where else can you find high single digit, low double digit returns right now?).
- Estimize: Crowdsourcing really works and that's true for earnings information. Estimize has shown that it's frequently more accurate than Wall Street when it comes to financial estimates.
- StockRover: StockRover is a financial data portal that was built by a techie investor for others like him. If you enjoy deep diving into the data and doing great stock screens, StockRover is really powerful.
- Kivalia: Investors with assets in retirement accounts get the short end of the stick. They lack good advice. Kivalia is changing that with an advice layer on 401ks that tells investors what and when to buy -- down to advice on which mutual funds they should own.