An investment platform
for socially-conscious investors
Swell, a fully-backed startup and impact investment platform that allows consumers to invest in portfolios of stocks that align with their values.
The online impact investment platform gives consumers the opportunity to invest in high-growth industries that are addressing global, environmental, and social challenges.
Design a startup venture and digital product that connects investors to companies making a positive impact in the world.
For the socially-conscious, investing can be a tricky proposition. The same people who wish to vote with their wallets may find that their options for investment funds and 401K plans are rife with companies that violate causes they believe in. So far, there have been few options in the marketplace that give consumers the opportunity to put their money in financial products that not only cut out environmental and social offenders, but actually contribute to the well-being of the environment and society.
TOP 3 LEARNINGS & DESIGN SOLUTIONS
People believe that they must choose between social responsibility and making money. Having both seems too good to be true.
Transparency is key to win over even the most skeptical users. To achieve that we prioritized explaining Swell’s rigorous process to vet companies’ performance and impact. We brought to the surface all data and expertise behind our value proposition and highlighted our achievements through portfolio performance and companies' success stories.
Personal investing feels complex and confusing to everyone, even those with business degrees. This field is not known for being accessible.
Swell's user interface is clean and simple. Most activities are broken down into steps and there are safeguards in place that prevent users from making bad investment choices. The experience is also enhanced by strategically placed content modules (indicated by ? icons) that explain the basics of investing or go deeper on how Swell's works.
Investing is a long term affair and monthly statements are not enough to keep users engaged regularly with an investment platform.
Swell is about impact as much as profit. This is why we offer not only performance data, but also qualitative content about each of the portfolio themes, news about investing and updates on the companies included in each portfolio. This content is delivered through the platform itself, the Swell blog and beautifully curated emails.
THE PROCESS & MY ROLE
Embedded as core team members, we worked alongside Swell’s founder to shape the company. In just one year, we went from an initial concept and prototype to an SEC-registered investment adviser with a fully developed business model, a digital platform with initial investors, and well-defined branding that set the look and feel of the values-driven company.
We used a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods to better understand our customer and refine our design. We developed a rich understanding about their motivations and needs from in-depth interviews. We then identified hypothesis and tested different designs though a large scale survey and A/B testing of Facebook ADs.
To better test our product, we also formed a consumer council made of ten individuals from different background and with a diverse range of investment savviness. This core group of users was invited to test early prototypes and complete weekly assignments to inform our design, validate our decisions and keep the consumer at the center of the design.
Working within a very small team, my key role has been to lead the design of the investment platform (all the way from early sketches, wireframes and final product), interact with consumers to test our design and collaborate with Carbon 5, our software development partner, to prioritize features and iterate on each implementation. I also contributed in bringing the brand to life within the product, building assets for our marketing effort and interviewing candidates to build a strong purpose-driven Swell team.