Mark Ackred, Co-Founder of Dabbl on buying shares by taking photos

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There’s a great bit in Peter Hargreaves’ autobiography (In for a Penny) about his personal investment strategy of buying into companies he uses.

In particular how shocked he was at the cost of the David Lloyd membership his wife bought him as a present he bought some shares and made a tidy profit when the clubs were sold.

Now though, you don’t need to pay the Hargreaves Lansdown commission, a wife or even a David Lloyd membership to emulate the billionaire stock broker. You can simply buy shares in companies you use every day just by talking a photo with the Dabbl App on your smartphone.

We talk to Mark Ackred Co Founder on what the app does, how it works and who it’s for.

First off. What is Dabbl and what does it do?

Dabbl has been created to drive an investment revolution. Our app has been built to reconnect everyone with the companies behind the brands that surround them each day. Put simply, our mission is to make investing more cost effective and more accessible than it has ever been before.

How long have you been working on the App from first concept to first customer trade?

Just over 2 years

Are you backed by any household names and what sort of protection does Dabbl offer it’s customers?

We have a number of high profile investors in our business, including the advertising giants BBH and John Spiers, the founder of BestInvest. We are authorised by the FCA as an appointed representative of our Principal firm VIBHS Financial Ltd, which affords our clients the same FSCS protections as all other UK investors. Shares bought by our clients are held by our nominees, Winterflood Securities.

Dabbl Invest SuperDry ExampleHow many brands can the app recognise?

1000’s of, its constantly being enhanced and added to.

What happens if a brand is listed internationally? Can you buy foreign shares or will it suggest UK alternatives?

We are currently able to allow Dabbl clients to buy shares in over 1400 equities. That includes all LSE listed UK stocks, as well as high profile companies from the US and across Europe. We plan to expand this list further as we grow and could increase to up to 32,000

When alternatives are suggested do you fall under DIY investing or is there an element of robo-advising to help users create diverse portfolios?

The camera is looking for a recognisable shape, product or brand and helping clients discover who is behind it, rather than making any investment recommendation. The app is not designed to suggest alternatives, but obviously if the brand cannot be seen – say on a plain piece of glassware – then the app will suggest an array companies who make glassware.

How does the App generate revenue for you as a business?

We charge our clients either an annual subscription or a per-transaction fee. Most of this is covering the exchange and administration fees, but there is a profit element in here to allow us to reinvest in the business. We have built the app to serve a vast swathe of the population who should be investing but aren’t, so this is a proposition of scale.

Any plans to white label your app out to existing stockbrokers?

We are talking to a number of other entities as to how we may cooperate in the future.

After launch, will there be any significant updates to the App already planned?

Absolutely. We expect Dabbl to grow as it meets client needs and also addresses the changing themes we are seeing in today’s investment market. Our objective is to forge our own unique path, rather than focus on what legacy players have done in the past.

Any finally, what are your top three online resources for the millennial generation who want to start investing?

  1. www.marketwatch.com. Although this is primarily a US site, it provides a lot of coverage which is relevant to millennial investors.
  2. www.Cityam.com. A financial paper at its heart, the staff include a number of up and coming journalists. The paper’s approach to articles also cuts through at lot of the jargon you will find elsewhere.
  3. blog.themoneyshed.co.uk. This informative site covers a wide range of money related topics, from explaining what Bitcoin is to how to start your own business.

Mark Ackred is CEO of Dabbl Invest. You can find out more and download the App on their website here.

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Richard started the Good Broker Guide in 2015 and has been a broker for 20 years most recently at Investors Intelligence and previously acting as multi asset derivatives broker at MF Global (Man Financial). Richard started his career working as a private client stockbroker at Walker Crips and Phillip Securities (now King and Shaxson) after interning on the NYMEX oil trading floor in New York and London IPE in 2000.