Launched in the fall of 2021, Merlin Investor is on a mission democratize access to investment strategies. The fintech offers a while label, multi-asset, educational, strategizing and tracking tool that helps investors accomplish two critical goals: building long-term positive results and limiting potentially catastrophic losses.
Merlin Investor’s technology is compatible with all trading platforms. The technology is suitable for both retail and professional traders, and is available for both the desktop and mobile. Merlin Investor enables users to retrieve market data and sentiment from multiple sources and apply that data to a massive range of tailor-made investment strategies.
With offices in both West Palm Beach, Florida, and Lugano, Switzerland, Merlin Investor made its Finovate debut at FinovateEurope earlier this year. The company returned to the Finovate stage in May for FinovateSpring. We caught up with Merlin Investor founder and CEO Guido Petrelli (pictured) this summer to learn more about the company, its mission to democratize access to investment strategies, and what to expect from the company in 2023 and beyond.
What problem does Merlin Investor solve and who does it solve it for?
Guido Petrelli: Merlin Investor was born as an intelligent protection and conscious guide for a more farsighted management of investments aimed limiting potential catastrophic losses while building long term positive results. Thanks to the Merlin platform, retail investors can educate themselves, study the markets, and create and track their own investment strategies to easily understand, balance and diversify investment risks.
In other words, we help and empower a new generation to invest with strategy in mind. This is the key to becoming successful and is the only factor distinguishing between gambling and investing. As we are on a mission to democratize financial inclusion and investment planning, our technology was built to allow anyone, regardless the level of knowledge or experience, to become independent and the one and only master of their own financial future.
How does Merlin Investor solve this problem better than other companies?
Petrelli: In the retail investor space, we see many companies focusing on execution, meaning focusing on the act of buying and selling assets. But executing without evaluating multiple sources of information first, combined with the lack of a diversified and balanced investment strategy, can lead to uncontrolled and unlimited potential losses because of the market’s ups and downs. While it may imply the chance for quick gains, it’s actually not the norm as wealth is usually built over time by managing a positive-sum game.
That’s why from the very beginning Merlin was designed as a complementary product to a trading platform and not as a substitute solution. Merlin Investor addresses the strategic essence of investing while the majority of the competition just focuses on enhancing the trading experience – which is already well supported by several financial institutions in a pretty similar way.
Who are Merlin Investor’s primary customers. How do you reach them?
Petrelli: Our primary customers are financial institutions focusing on educating a new generation of retail investors and offering the possibility to trade different asset classes through their digital banking platforms. We attend multiple fintech events in several countries that are attended by financial institution decision-makers responsible for delivering an innovative and digitalized experience to their clients. We also analyze the markets to identify those prospect clients we believe to be a fit in terms of services and client base. Then we look for the people focusing on retail digital products and platforms and reach out to them to introduce our company and technology. Last, we work to be featured in fintech-specialized magazines having financial institutions as target audience.
Can you tell us about a favorite implementation or deployment of your technology?
Petrelli: We offer our technology as a white-label solution that financial institutions can easily embed into their own digital platforms through API keys, while having the possibility to customize product’s appearance and features. As result, our product is delivered to the final users in the bank’s name and as a sub-section of the same app/e-banking they are already familiar with. Through our B2B partner’s portal, we grant to financial institutions the flexibility to choose from the full Merlin product those asset classes, sections, features, and contents they intend to integrate based on their own specific needs. In this way, they can design a tailored solution and experience for their own clients, while sticking to the overall structure and design of the banking platform they already offer.
What in your background gave you the confidence to respond to this challenge?
Petrelli: In a nutshell, it was the combination of my knowledge around investing and the problem I personally experienced as a retail investor that led to Merlin Investor. In fact, I was just a teenager when I first started to trade. Then I quickly realized that executing trades “per-se” – meaning the simple action of buying and selling assets – is the less strategic and relevant part to achieve long term positive results. Instead, studying different market sources, and then designing a diversified and balanced investment strategy, are what make the difference in the end. Still, (available) banking and trading platforms were not enough to educate me about investing, or to (help me) design and analyze my own investment strategies.
As a result, for years I was forced to create time-consuming and unfriendly spreadsheets to the point where I couldn’t accept it anymore – not in a world like today’s where we have an app for everything we do! At the same time with trading platforms booming basically everywhere, it became more and more clear that a new generation wants to invest autonomously and in the right way. As I couldn’t find any product in the market like the one I envisioned, I decided to create it. And that’s how Merlin Investor was born.Merlin Investor founder and CEO Guido Petrelli demoing the company’s technology at FinovateEurope this year.
You recently demoed at FinovateSpring and will be demoing your technology at FinovateFall in September. What brings you back?
Petrelli: This year I’ve demoed the Merlin platform at FinovateEurope and FinovateSpring, so FinovateFall will be my third appearance. So far the experience has been great. We have been able to show our cutting-edge technology to major financial institutions in Europe and North America, while receiving much interest and establishing meaningful connections with decision-makers within the banking industry. The high visibility and key connections with prospect clients are the two main factors which bring us back to FinovateFall. The well-organized events and the team at Finovate are also a plus.
What are your goals for Merlin Investor?
Petrelli: Our goal is to be recognized by the major global banks as the innovative partner to work with when it comes to educating and empowering a new generation of retail investors. We focus on establishing solid and strategic partnerships with a limited numbers of players in the banking industry to achieve our mission of democratizing financial inclusion and strategic planning globally, while helping young investors to reach financial independence and to become the masters of their own financial futures.
What can we expect from Merlin Investor over the balance of 2023 and into next year?
Petrelli: We’ll continue to prioritize continuous and never-ending improvement of our technology by looking to upgrade the experience we offer either to financial institutions and to the final users to whom our product is deployed. We will also continue to work to boost our market presence to make the Merlin platform known to more financial institutions serving retail clients in several countries. We will eventually concentrate on scaling the team and operations to be able to manage expectations. We will accomplish all of this without forgetting our mission to make conscious and strategic investing accessible to anyone through strategic partnerships with financial institutions.
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