Last year senior Will Cunningham received a surprise phone call from his grandfather, who wanted advice regarding his investment allowances. While Cunningham’s grandfather had a wealth manager, he found the consultant’s advice too complicated and looked to his grandson, a TCNJ finance student, to simplify things.
Cunningham wondered if other people had the same challenges with investments, so he and a friend Freddie Hayeka senior interdisciplinary business major, set out to survey TCNJ students.
What they discovered did not surprise them; many of their classmates didn’t know how to invest their money effectively and were looking for simple, quality advice at a lower cost. The survey results — and that phone call from grandpa — sparked the concept of Witz, a free, personalized investment allocation app, and the winner of the Mayo Business Plan competition’s $30,000 grand prize. of this year.
Although there are free online financial calculators, they lack personalized advice and often have management fees and high net worth requirements that shut out many users. But Witz provides free, simple, personalized financial advice with no minimum account balance. With Witz, users can connect everything from savings accounts to brokerage accounts to the app.
Using a model created by the company, the app determines the optimal allocation of a user’s investments across different asset classes, then continues to track net worth through connected accounts and updates Allocation advice accordingly to help users achieve their financial goals.
Cunningham and Hayeck are no strangers to crafting business plans. In fact, the pair competed in the Mayo competition together early in their TCNJ careers, but didn’t get very far.
“We lacked the education and other work experience that we now have with four years at TCNJ,” Hayeck says. “This year, Will had a great solution to a pervasive problem, and we were passionate about solving that problem.”
Cunningham and Hayeck will dedicate most of their loot to app development, making sure the interface is easy for users to understand. The rest will be used for marketing and various legal costs. While Cunningham and Hayeck are excited to eventually launch their business into the world, they recognize the importance of taking their time to get it right.
“We’re concerned about bringing the best product to market,” Cunningham said. “A cash injection really helps us achieve this, especially at an early stage. It breathes life into our business and I am grateful that TCNJ is part of our story.
— Kelley Freund