Has stock trading become too much like a video game? One Terry College of Business student is betting his “tendies” that the parallels between gaming and trading are here to stay.
Nick Dasoveanu, a graduating economics student from Duluth, won the UGA Idea Accelerator pitch contest, held April 19, with his plan for a site where traders could stream their trading activity and portfolios live.
Inspired in part by Twitch, a platform that allows gamers the ability to stream their gameplay live to their fans, Dasoveanu and co-founder Michael Moldoveanu, a software engineer, launched Sweater.
It started with a late-night phone call and a crazy idea for a way to share portfolio progress among friends, Dasoveanu said.
“We thought it would be really funny because, if our portfolios were going really up or really down, we would be able to commiserate, get nervous with each other, and just have fun,” he said. “Eventually we realized the potential if we could pull in some of the more popular traders and it became a bigger thing.”
Over the past decade, independent traders have made names for themselves dispensing armchair analysis on video platforms like Tik-Tok and YouTube or message boards like Reddit. While friends will be able to share their portfolios and explore on the platform, these internet-famous traders would attract the widespread trading community to Sweater, meaning eyeballs and user growth, he explained.
Dasoveanu pitched the startup to a panel of judges at UGA’s Idea Accelerator Demo Day on April 19.
The UGA Idea Accelerator is a four-week, intensive business workshop that pairs UGA student startups with entrepreneurs who coach them in the concepts of customer discovery, financial literacy and investor readiness. The UGA Entrepreneurship Program works with two cohorts of entrepreneurs each semester.
The program has awarded more than $67,000 in startup funding to date and helped more than 540 budding entrepreneurs refine their business ideas.
“Nick demonstrated great entrepreneurial traits,” said Jim Flannery, a UGA entrepreneurship lecturer and Idea Accelerator organizer. “He was able to recognize flaws in his original idea after discussions with customers, wasn’t afraid to be wrong. He found creative solutions to potential sticking points.”
Dasoveanu and his co-founder have secured financing from an angel investor to bring together a development team and engineer the backbone of the Sweater platform, he said. They will use the $2,500 Idea Accelerator prize to hire a user interface designer to smooth out the appearance and function of the platform.
They also are recruiting marketing interns this summer to help promote the site.
In addition to Sweater, Idea Accelerator judges heard a pitch from Nick Harrison for RV Livin’, a platform that would allow RV Park owners to market to potential campers. Harrison is a 2020 Terry College graduate with a degree in risk management.
“In our fourth cohort of the academic year, we had a great applicant pool with two strong entrepreneurs completing our four-week program and pitching during demo day,” Flannery said. “Both teams are solving interesting, growing problems for growing markets.”
Flannery’s team is now taking applications for a summer Idea Accelerator cohort, as well as helping Idea Accelerator alumni apply for UGA Entrepreneurship’s Build/Test Accelerator and Summer Launch Program.