The Meaning of Our Name

What’s a good brand without a good story behind it?

NBC’s peacock logo gave the company a way to debut color TV.

Nike’s swoosh symbolized motion and speed.

Steve Jobs said he liked apples a lot, Apple came before Atari in the phone book, and the name had the same simplicity and sophistication their computers required.

The legend of the wheat and chessboard

Grain was inspired by a geometric problem often quoted in fables about the invention of chess.

The story begins with a tyrannical king who ruled his subjects through fear and oppression. One day, a wise man named Sessa devised a plan to return power to the people.

Sessa invented the game of chess and gifted it to the king to teach him an important lesson. The chess pieces symbolized the value of each subject and were meant to persuade the king to take better care of his people.

Instead, the king used chess to train his generals in the art of war.

Fortunately, all hope was not lost. The king gave Sessa the opportunity to name his prize for the brilliant invention.

Clever as he was, Sessa requested 1 grain of wheat on the first square of the chessboard, 2 grains on the second, 4 grains on the third, 8 grains on the fourth, and so on, doubling the number with each successive square.

Ignorant of compounding, the ability of something to build on itself and intensify over time (a snowball effect), the king readily agreed…

An astronomical sum

On the 10th square, the king owed over 1,000 grains of wheat.

On the 20th square — over 1 million grains.

On the 30th square — over 1 billion grains.

On the 40th square — over 1 trillion grains.

On the 50th square — over 1 quadrillion grains.

On the 64th and final square — nearly 20 quintillion grains of wheat.

The heap would be larger than Mount Everest.

In fact, all of that grain placed end to end could stretch from Earth, across space to the nearest star, and back to Earth again! Twice!

The king, literally buried in debt, had been dethroned.


Clip from IBM film “Mathematics Peepshow” (2011). Video is a little “grainy,” but it gets the point across.

For compounding to work, you have to start early

We like this story because it shows the tremendous power of compounding, which is a force the stock market puts on full display.

No matter how small your investment may seem on day one, there is no limit to how large it can grow if you give it enough time.

Consider the following example, based on the 7% average annual return of the stock market as a whole. In case you’re wondering how we got 7%:

“The economy, as measured by gross domestic product, can be expected to grow at an annual rate of about 3 percent over the long term, and inflation of 2 percent would push nominal GDP growth to 5 percent…Stocks will probably rise at about that rate and dividend payments will boost total returns to 6 percent to 7 percent.”
— Warren Buffett, Legendary Investor

Starting at age 25, based on this average 7%, if you invest $5,000 each year in a stock market index fund, you’ll earn over $1,000,000 by the time you’re 65.

Waiting 10 years to start investing can cut your total in half.

Sticking with a savings account cuts it to one-fourth.

It’s simple and amazing — the money you invest today can grow and multiply in years to come
Based on 7% historical average annual return for the stock market and 1% APY for high interest savings account.

About Grain

When you buy stock, you buy a piece of ownership in a company. These companies are built by people who come together to achieve things they could not achieve alone.

This is what Grain stands for — we believe the key to motivating the next generation to start investing lies within a community of friends and family working together. The complexity of the stock market has long excluded many, but that no longer has to be the case!

Grain is the bridge between what is familiar and what is not. Our app not only helps you find stocks with a search engine powered by IBM Watson, but also provides powerful tools to share your ideas and activity with people you trust. Perhaps most importantly, Grain starts you along the path of investing, at your own pace, through connections to major US brokers.

We built Grain for ourselves, our friends, and our families. We built it for people who want to work together to take control of their financial well-being. We built it for people who want a better, more secure future. We built it for you!


The Grain Team

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