First they took the travel company public, now three former Trivago managers are starting the fintech CoIQ.capital, which aims to show those interested in the stock market how to invest properly.
Andrej Lehnert, Johannes Thomas and Andreas Vogler worked for Trivago before they were founded.
"Those who are still young today will not get much of the statutory pension later on," says Johannes Thomas, ex-manager at Trivago and one of the three founders of the Bonn-based fintech CoIQ.capital. It is all the more important to make private provisions – with shares, he thinks. That's why Thomas founded the company CoIQ.capital with his co-founders Andrej Lehnert and Andreas Vogler, which is supposed to stand for Collective Intelligence.
The fintech aims to help those interested in the stock market to make the right investment decisions. And with the help of a stock market simulation platform. In addition, users can invest a fictitious budget of EUR 100,000 in shares for practice purposes – in order to then observe how well they perform over a longer period of time.
50,000 users investing fictitious capital in stocks
The idea for this came from Lehnert, who set up the platform in 2008 alongside his work as CMO at Trivago. For a long time, the idea was just a side project. At the time, he was frustrated by the unmanageable range of financial products on the market, according to his founding partner Johannes Thomas: Little transparency and at the same time many clever fund managers who claim to know which shares to invest in. Lehnert didn't just want to rely on one vote, but on several. That's why he developed the stock exchange platform, on which, according to his own statements, around 50,000 people have registered to date.
In the summer of 2021, Lehnert and Thomas finally decided to focus on their idea full-time. Their former Trivago colleagues Andreas Vogler, Florian Berger and Heiko Hilbert are also part of the team. Together they put together several hundred thousand euros, which they invest in building up their new company.
Trivago founders are investing millions in the fund
In addition to the evil simulation platform, CoIQ.capital set up an equity fund worth 15 million euros in February of this year. According to the founders, the money comes from two of the three Trivago founders, Rolf Schrömgens and Peter Vinnemeier. Schrömgens, who gave up the CEO position at Trivago in 2019, founded a new startup, Grid, which develops a payment app for events. Vinnemeier is still active as CTO at the hotel search engine platform.
The investment strategy of this equity fund, which bears the name CoIQ Collective Intelligence Fund, is based on the decisions made by the top 300 users of the stock market simulation platform over a number of years. "Instead of fund managers or artificial intelligence, collective intelligence is used," says Thomas.
According to the startup, the fund invests in 100 stocks from primarily large companies from the USA and Europe such as Amazon, Apple and Microsoft, but also BioTech or Mercedes Benz.
Private investors who invest in the startup's fund pay an administration fee of 0.9 percent. With an investment of 100 euros, CoIQ.capital earns one euro, rounded up. For investors who put more than 200,000 euros in the fund, the fee drops to 0.75 percent.
Access to the platform is free for users. The startup is pursuing the goal of attracting more users to the stock market simulation platform so that the fund can also perform better. Because that requires enough participants who make good investment decisions, explains Thomas.