Inner8 is a recently launched social-stock picking service. CEO Doug Doyle says the company's mission is to provide an online alternative to the traditional investment advisor, who, he says, typically underperforms the market at large. Obviously, that's never been more true than in recent days, making Doyle's goal to, "steal share from the advice industry," quite modest. If, that is, there remains any industry to steal share from.
Inner8 is indeed a good source of investment ideas, but it's no replacement for an advisor. It's too technical and too involved. You can't just put your money in its hands and walk away. Not that you should do that with an advisor, either, but if the goal is to provide users with the same appearance of full-service management that they get with personal advisors, Inner8 is a failure.
But it is a solid stock community, and worth exploring by anyone who is fed up with either advisors or with the current tools for selecting investments, and who realizes that they would do well to spend some time with their money if they want it to work for them.
The site has two main feature areas. First, it's a social stock site. You tell the service what your investing profile is like (though a questionnaire) and it will find other users who are similar to you. Then you can see what they're recommending. You can also have it select the users who are the most unlike you, if you're looking for a fresh perspective.
Second, it's a prediction market. But its mechanics are greatly simplified from most other prediction markets, where you wager fake money on real outcomes and where the best performers are the ones who have won most of these virtual bucks. In Inner8, you select a stock, and then, from a slider, predict the price of it one month out. The system tracks your performance and calculates your accuracy score over time. Doyle says it's a better system than the standard social stock site method of rating users' portfolios based on ROI, since those can be heavily skewed by hail-Mary investments that happen to strike it big. I agree in principle, although I do like to take advice from investors with skin in the game, and Inner8 doesn't yet connect to real portfolios at all.
Inner8 is well structured, although too technical and complex for the intended audience, in my opinion. Still, if it collects a solid community of users it will reward them with good advice. People who have money in the market have a responsibility to that money to play a more active role in its management than the advice community encourages, so Doyle struck a chord with me when he said, "It genuinely pisses us off, the good money that people are spending on financial advice. And it's not helping." To that end, Inner8 is a good service for the times.
The product will be pitched at the Finovate conference about online financial tools in New York next week. It should be a rockin' good time. A paid version with additional features (I'm predicting portfolio tracking and real-time stock data) is scheduled for 90 days from now.