A financial technology startup launched in Detroit and backed primarily by West Michigan investors stems from what Jeff Lambert calls 20 years of frustration from a disconnect between public companies and individual shareholders.
TiiCKER, the fintech startup that Lambert co-founded and leads, seeks to bridge that divide. The company aims to better connect public companies and individual investors that typically comprise 10 percent to 30 percent their shareholder base.
Individual investors are “the best kind of shareholder” for public companies because they tend vote their shares with management, are “loyal to the brand” and long-term holders of stock, but are “also the hardest and most expensive to reach,” said Lambert, CEO of Lambert & Co., a Grand Rapids-based investor relations and public relations firm.
“(TiiCKER’s) the result of a couple of decades of frustration of not being able to reach individual investors or to measure any kind of marketing to them,” said Lambert, the fintech startup’s CEO.
Based on users’ profiles, their investment decisions and brand preferences, TiiCKER can recommend other stocks of public companies that may interest them, as well as direct content on stock trading and inform individual investors about discounts and perks provided by companies in which they invested.
“What’s interesting about stock buying and ownership is that people shop stocks just like they shop clothing stores or retailers,” he said. “Every piece of research, every statistic that we’ve ever seen — and we’ve been doing investor relations for 25 years — says there’s higher brand loyalty in the stock that you own and much more retail ownership in brands, and it confirms how people are shopping stocks, but no one has really capitalized on that.”
TiiCKER will “engage and reward” individual investors and verifies their holdings and offers free links to brokerage accounts through Ameritrade, Fidelity and others, Lambert said.
Lambert and his partners have so far netted about $750,000 of an ongoing $1.25 million capital raise to launch and support TiiCKER. They expect to subsequently pursue a $2 million capital round later this year, he said.
Most of the investors in TiiCKER are from West Michigan, according to Lambert.