Downtown financial management firm launches ‘do-it-for-me’ investing app

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Richmond-based investment firm Taylor Hoffman recently launched an app-based investing service called Avidus. (Photos courtesy of Taylor Hoffman)

In the age of Robinhood and robo-advisors, a downtown financial management firm is jumping into the fray of investment apps.

Taylor Hoffman launched its new stock trading app called Avidus last month. The company hopes to carve out a niche that combines the concept of an investment app with in-house professionals who manage user investments.

Founded in 2017 and with $325 million under management for high net worth clients, Taylor Hoffman relies on the fact that it can leverage that experience to bring users to its app among top competitors like Robinhood.

Brandon Taylor

Company co-founder Brandon Taylor said Avidus stands out because the company’s employees handle the tedious work of investing in stocks – as opposed to Robinhood, in which users manage themselves. even their investments.

“We are one of the few ‘do-it-for-me’ apps. If you want to invest in stocks but want someone to do it for you, that’s us,” Taylor said.

Users can invest a minimum of $100 in Avidus. The company currently offers an investment strategy based on shares of 30 US companies from different sectors. Other strategies are expected in the future, which may include alternative investments such as wine or art.

The company generates revenue from the app with a 1% management fee per account. Taylor, speaking last week, said the app had 60 users so far.

The company funded the app’s development with $1.4 million in capital that was raised in a friends and family round in 2021.

Taylor said the company used the pandemic months to plan for the future and landed on the app as a new offering for existing customers while opening the company up to new customers.

“We spent a lot of time during the pandemic thinking about our culture and where we wanted to go,” he said. “I think we felt like we wanted to do more than what we were doing and open up professional money management to younger people and communities that aren’t traditionally targeted by Wall Street.”

Taylor said about half of the company’s customers are in the Richmond area, while the other half are elsewhere in the country, although they also have some sort of connection to Richmond. The hope is that the Avidus app will allow the company to break out of its usual networks to find a wider national customer base.

“‘Reaching the ladder’ is defined for us as bringing in people that none of us know,” Taylor said.

The application is available on the Apple App Store. Taylor Hoffman officially launched the app to the general public in January after a soft launch in October.

The company has 11 employees in its 6,400 square foot office located in the Two James Center.

Taylor, who has more than 20 years of wealth management experience, founded the firm with Gabe Hoffman several years after Taylor hired Hoffman at a major Wall Street investment firm around 2013.

Taylor is a VCU alumnus and Hoffman is a graduate of Campbell University in North Carolina.

As for the Avidus moniker, the company struggled to find an unclaimed name for the app and eventually hired a consultant to help with the search.

This consultant met with the team and came up with 20 options. Avidus, a portmanteau of “avid” and “we,” rose to the top because it suggested enthusiasm and community, Taylor said.

“We realized it was really tough,” Taylor said. “Every cool name you can think of has been taken.”

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