California based social investing site Instavest secured $1.7m in seed funding from backers Y Combinator, Jaan Tallinn and Cherubic Ventures amongst others. Part of Y Combinator’s Winter 2015 class, Instavest is a startup trying to turn investing — an activity most of us are used to doing privately — into a social activity.
The original version of Instavest allowed experts to share their stock trades (and rationale) for others to see and potentially duplicate. If the stock did well, the service then let the users offer a portion of their profit to the expert as a “donation.” Instavest has also announced they have integrated with 10 of the most popular online brokerage firms, so customers can buy and sell stock directly from Instavest’s site. These firms include popular platforms like E*Trade and OptionsHouse, plus about 8 more. The site connects with these firms via their individual APIs, and after a one-time authentication you can buy and sell stock with your preferred brokerage without leaving Instavest.