Gratio Capital is planning a mobile application that further lowers the barriers to its microinvestment platform GoalMine by allowing users to pledge cash through their smartphones.
The app will be launched by yearend, an executive of the San Francisco company said Tuesday. On Wednesday it plans to launch a Facebook app that allows users to receive funds as gifts.
"We are validating Facebook as a platform for securities distribution," said Rimmy Malhotra, Gratio's co-founder and chief investment officer.
Gratio operates its investment management service through its GoalMine.com website, which gives users a choice of three mutual funds and one savings account.
The mobile app links to a user's bank account through the automated clearing house network. The smartphone software also uses location services to warn users when they get near a coffee shop — or another place where they may be spending more money than they realize. This alert serves as a reminder to the user that the same money could be better put toward a savings or investment goal.
"The next time you are about to lay down cash for your caffeine fix, you can invest the money instead," said Andrew Jensen, Gratio's senior vice president of operations, in a demo video.
Gratio also markets a GoalPack product that functions like a gift card: It can be purchased for any amount starting from $25 and redeemed at the company's website by allocating the cash to one of three mutual funds or a savings account.
GoalPacks can be bought online, through certain credit unions or at the flagship Austin, Texas, store of Mango Financial.