Looking Back at 2017 with Voleo Nasdaq Student Investors

As 2017 comes to a close, we’re reminded of how many amazing experiences we got to enjoy over the year: launching the Voleo app across the US, meeting all the other amazing fintech startups at Plug and Plug in Silicon Valley, travelling to New York to present (and win!) at the Finovate conference in September, launching cryptocurrency trading on the SimuTrader app, and of course, meet so many young investors through our Voleo Nasdaq Simulated Equity Competition.

The results from the competition were incredible, our winning teams achieved gains between 15% — 37%! But what was more exciting was seeing the participation and enthusiasm for the stock market. Being able to make a positive impact and influence future investing is the best part of what we do, and this competition really made our year.

So to close out 2017, we reached out to some of our best investors and ambassadors to hear what they had to say about their experience — and their top stock picks:

Meet Jermaine Marshall, founder of the Team KPSI investment club:

What were your best Voleo Nasdaq competition trades, Jermaine?

My best trades thus far have been Square and Microsoft.

What would you do differently with your next investment club, with real money involved?

With my next investment club I would take things slower and make fewer investments as if we had initially done that instead of spreading out our capital so much we’d be in a much higher position in ranking.

What’re your career ambitions? Do you think you’ll pursue a career in finance?

My career ambition is to continue in the field of computer science and specifically Data Science. I hope to work as a Data Scientist and as a side project work on predictive analysis for stock market trends.

What’s been the best part of your investment club experience?

The best part about this experience has been investing as a team instead of being alone. It has taught me a lot about making financial decisions as a group instead of solo and doing so at times saved me from making 1 or 2 somewhat bad investment decisions.

“The best part about this experience has been investing as a team instead of being alone.”

I think this competition is an awesome eye opener for college students as most students do not learn much about investing and trading the stock market in college — not even business students.

One of our most active investment clubs featured a group of students from the University of San Francisco, meet the SIC Investment Club:

What was the SIC Foundation Corp’s best trade from the competition ?

Guo Feng & Eva Z. Zhang: Our long position investing in PayPal (PYPL) with 15% total capital from $67 per share before it’s Q3 earning release has been one of our best trades since we join the competition. We set our target price at $75 per share and so far we’ve got 9.77% profit in return.

Knowing what you know now, would you do anything differently with your investment club?

GF & EZ: Leading our team to overcome their inner fear towards the financial market should be the next focus. We’ve noticed that when a stock rises, sometimes it can be difficult to hold on to it. Our team would fear their own decision, so it’s hard to stick to it for the highest return. We guess this has to do with lacking enough real trading experience.

What are your career ambitions — will you careers in finance?

GF & EZ: One day we’d like to pursue a Board position with a company in return for stock. We’d like to help guide high level perspective to think about the long term development of a business and help it to grow.

What’s been the best part of your investment club experience?

GF & EZ: The shared team decision making process has been one of the best learning experiences for us. SIC Foundation Corp is teamed up with 4 selected members from Stock Investment Club who have accumulated substantial real trading experiences in the past. Based on our own trading pathways, when any of our team members spot a stock to buy, we managed to share our individual investment philosophy in a group chat the night before we place an order. We encourage each other to make their personal decision at the time of execution while still give our inputs when any of the team member requests from the group chat.

“The shared team decision making process has been one of the best learning experiences for us.”

During the Voleo Nasdaq trading competition, we also applied our team decision towards certain stocks to our real cash trading accounts in order to make real profit, as this definitely enriched our portfolio management experience. Of course, there will be moments of misjudgment, but instead of complaining, we choose to encourage the buyer and set the limit to notify the team to sell at one’s earliest attention in the group chat. When there is a great return, we send a round of applause for our teammates so everyone is motivated and able to share and enjoy this precious social investing learning experience with the Voleo team.

We had the pleasure of meeting the SIC Foundation Corp investment club team at the beautiful Yerba Buena Gardens in downtown San Francisco.

Meet Anthony Willis of the US Air Force Academy 2 investment club:

Anthony, what were your best Voleo Nasdaq competition trades?

My best trades have been Disney, XPO Logistics, several defense contractors, several solar companies, and several biotechnology companies.

What would you do differently with your next investment club, with real money involved?

If real money was involved, I believe I would hold my team members and myself more accountability for our proposals and be more conscious of the level of risk and amount of money I personally am willing to propose.

For example: our team has a weekly meeting to discuss the previous week’s performances, the next week’s strategy (level or risk), and which trades are should focus on more at different points of the week.

As our team’s lead, it’s difficult leading a team of 7 when there are several “4 degrees” (military freshman at the Academy) which makes effective communication difficult to manage (i.e. not every team member can make the meetings and when person proposals conflict with the majority).

What’re your career ambitions? Do you think you’ll pursue a career in finance?

For career ambitions, I have been selected to go to Air Force pilot training once I commission in 2018, and this will be anywhere from a 10–20 year career. However, this does not limit me from other future job opportunities; I am interested in a career in finance, possibly after I retire and/or I could squeeze it in there sometime in between. I’m not closing any doors.

What’s been the best part of your investment club experience?

The best part of my experience has been working with people I would have never known before. At the academy there is a rank disparity between the classes and this often makes communication difficult to manage between the classes. Yet, this competition has allowed us to dissolve those barriers within our team. Additionally, this app has given me the opportunity to learn more about the investment world and some of its many idiosyncrasies.

“The best part of my experience has been working with people I would have never known before. [The Voleo SimuTrader] app has given me the opportunity to learn more about the investment world and some of its many idiosyncrasies.”

I joined because the app competition because it looked new and fun to learn. I wasn’t necessary concerned or focused on winning, but now that our team has a competitive shot of placing (they finished 6th), I want us to have the best chance of winning while still keeping the fun part of it in the competition. And a large part in us having fun with this app is that we have a lot of trust in one another.

A Voleo Nasdaq ambassador, Ariana Fariab led her team, the Bulldog Investments investment club:

What have been your best trades in the competition?

Bitcoin and Ethereum have definitely been our best trades. I was excited when the platform finally added cryptocurrencies, and we grew the value of our portfolio significantly with them. Another good investment (which we didn’t actually trade, just bought and held) was Direxion Mid Cap Bull 3X.

What would you do differently with your investment club?

I think it would have been interesting to manage two investment portfolios during the competition; one made up of solely crypto assets and the other made up of only stocks. We could then compare the performance of the portfolios at the end of the competition and see which group did better and why.

What are your career ambitions? Will you pursue career in finance?

I’m in the midst of trying to found a tech startup based in my hometown, San Francisco. My plan is to do that, scale it, and run a successful company. I can also see myself getting into angel investing and/or venture capital eventually.

What’s been the best part of your investment club experience?

The social aspect was fun. Once we had some solid investments, we would watch them go up (and sometimes down) throughout the day and text each other like “see I told you guys Boeing was a good call, look at that return!” It kept things interesting.

“The social aspect was fun. Once we had some solid investments, we would watch them go up (and sometimes down) throughout the day and text each other like ‘see I told you guys Boeing was a good call, look at that return!’”

Many thanks to Anthony, Ariana, Jermaine, Eva and Guo for their time answering our questions!

2017 was an exciting and adventurous year for the Voleo team, we can’t wait for 2018! See you all there! ;)

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