Public.com, one of Moonshot portfolio companies, has a vision: democratizing the world of investing by making it accessible to everyone. Public pioneered real-time fractional investing, which has since become the industry standard and allowed more people to get started no matter their level of wealth. In contrast to some of its competitors, who offer zero-commission trading at the price of engaging in questionable practices like payment for order flow (PFOF), Public.com pursues a growth path that aligns with the values and interests of its customers. This article presents three recent examples of what Public is doing to increase its business value and, at the same time, expand the services offered to its customers.
Identity verification and fraud prevention are key for an investing platform and ensure a high-quality community. However, this process takes time, which means high personnel resources and an annoying waiting period for new customers. Public.com has recognized this issue and has recently partnered with Socure, a leading provider of digital identity verifications, which enabled the company to successfully reduce verification costs by 30% while increasing its business value by an astounding 15%.
Public is not only reducing costs by optimizing its operations but also actively seeking growth opportunities. This has, for instance, been demonstrated with the acquisition of Otis, a startup that enables retail investors to trade fractional shares in culturally significant collectibles, sneakers, and art. The acquisition adds a new asset class to the platform and brings Public one step closer to its goal of democratizing investing — including the world of alternative investments. On the one hand, this step allows Public.com to expand its clients’ investment opportunities and thus adds value to the platform. On the other hand, the company generates revenue by charging a 5% listing fee and a 2% commission for secondary trades of those alternative assets. Combined with the stream of price data of those usually illiquid assets created by the platform, this expands Public’s revenue base and demonstrates high future growth potential.
Besides new partnerships and acquisitions, Public also proves that it can still grow through ingenious innovations. For instance, in early April 2022, the company launched a new product called Pulse. The paid service allows listed companies to engage directly with and gain insights from their retail investors. This marks a milestone in Public’s investing social network platform, which has gained a new dimension by adding public companies to the network. Especially now that the so-called meme stocks are on everyone’s minds, Pulse could draw great attention from both public companies and retail investors, as there are hardly any other options for them to interact with each other informally.
Pulse gives investor relations departments a previously unknown tool for winning over the popularity of retail investors. At the same time, Pulse extends Public.com’s investing social network experience, thus allowing retail investors to learn about the investor information of their favorite companies in a fun and exciting way: attending online public town halls instead of struggling through incomprehensible documents on websites.
Those were just three examples of how Public aims to offer the best user experience and services possible, making it more attractive for investments. Public.com has already attracted over three million users. The company has no minimum balance requirement and does not charge commissions or fees in order to reach its goal of making investing available to everyone. In addition, its social network-like platform encourages users to engage with and learn from each other.
In contrast to its competitors, who cross-subsidize their lack of commissions by selling their order flow, Public.com chooses to build diversified revenue streams that stand in line with the interests of its customers. This diversification also makes it a more robust business. Other companies that generate a large portion of revenue through PFOF are more dependent on this revenue stream, which can therefore be riskier. Thus, the recent developments underscore Public.com’s goal to become an inclusive and multifaceted investing social network platform.
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