A personal experience in the course of investing money gave Andreas Kern the idea for an innovative company. His start-up quickly became a success story: In just a few years, the innovative concept turned into Europe’s leading social trading platform.

An investment idea takes off

His main bank warmly recommended a particular financial product to Andreas Kern, the current CEO of wikifolio.com. Kern went home and calculated first of all how profitable the product would have been for him as an investor so far. It quickly became apparent to the trained mathematician that the product had only caused fees and virtually no return since 1953. That was back in 2008.

It actually all started with an annoyance.

The perfect financial product in times of social networks

Andreas Kern is someone for whom thinking is fun. And he therefore could not get the experience he hade with his main bank off his mind. His thoughts revolved around the central question: What does a contemporary financial product look like? A financial product in times of social media which is no longer determined by the superior knowledge of a few, but rather by participation, diversity and transparency? The basic idea of wikifolio.com was born.

Kern wrote down his concept for a social trading platform, founded a GmbH, a limited liability company, and had the name wikifolio.com protected. The idea was to enable traders to represent their trading ideas in fully transparent virtual portfolios and investors to invest in these trading ideas as simply as possible. But the great financial crisis arrived and gave rise to global uncertainty. “After the Lehman crisis, nobody wanted to talk to me,” Kern recalls of his search for partners in 2008.

Handelsblatt Group as the first investor

But just two years later, in 2010, the tide turned. “During this period, I got to know about 50 lawyers,” says Kern. For in the first period, priority was given to searching for partners and establishing a solid legal model. With the Handelsblatt Group joining as a partner in 2011, the company’s founder had found his first financial investor and media partner.

Lang & Schwarz as the issuing company

And one day Kern noticed an innovative financial product that surprised and inspired the certified stock exchange trader. It originated in the Lang & Schwarz company, based in Düsseldorf. Kern requested a rather spontaneous appointment with representatives of the company – and got it. After the meeting in Dusseldorf, Kern had gained a partner who was able to calculate an index based on the notional virtual portfolio of wikifolio.com and emit open-ended index certificates based on these, list them on the Stuttgart Stock Exchange and was furthermore able to act themselves serve as a trading venue. As of 2012, one can thus trade wikifolio certificates. On principle at any bank. 

Success story wikifolio.com

wikifolio.com has already been a success story in its first two years: As early as the first quarter of 2014, wikifolio.com achieved its operational break-even point with its fair and transparent fee model. More than 30,000 users registered between 2012 and 2014, 6,500 wikifolios were published, about 1,750 wikifolio certificates were issued and around 260 million euros were invested – with a steep growth curve.

All signs point toward growth at wikifolio.com.

Strong partners for a strong network

And the cooperation network has grown rapidly too: The idea of wikifolio.com also convinced the finance portal OnVista.de, the finance portal of the Focus Group Finanzen100 and many of the largest asset managers in Germany such as the Hamburg HPM and Bayerische Vermögen, as well as Germany’s largest online brokers comdirect, Consorsbank and also S Broker.

wikifolio.com as corporation

Our strong partners are the foundation wikifolio.com builds on. In order to continue the promising course of expansion, the social trading company was transformed into a stock corporation. “All signs point toward growth at wikifolio.com. We will use the fresh capital to expand our excellent team and accelerate the expansion into new markets,” Kern said in early 2015. “Our goal is to be the leading global alternative for investors and traders in the social trading segment.”

Our goal is to be the leading global alternative for investors and traders in the social trading segment.

Excellent performance

The standards set by the wikifolio.com team for itself and its products are high. It is thus all the more gratifying that the performance of wikifolio.com speaks for itself – in 2015, wikifolio certificates were the second most-traded products based on customer orders in the index and participation certificates segment EUWAX, alongside products of the Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank – and that it has also already received numerous awards from independent institutions:

  • Winner of the European FinTech Awards 2016 in the category “Personal Finance Management”
  • Lang & Schwarz wins the Certificate Awards 2015 with wikifolio certificates
  • Winner of the Fin Slam 2015 of the Banking und FinTech conference “Wealth Management 2020”
  • Winner Number One Award 2014: “Biggest Austro-Innovation in DACH stock markets” from Börse Social Network and Deloitte
  • ”Best Startup Company 2011” from StartUp Austria

wikifolio.com on expansion path

In the autumn of 2012, wikifolio certificates were offered in Germany for the first time. Austria followed shortly after that in the spring of 2013. In the spring of 2015, wikifolio.com launched the next phase of expansion with its market launch in Switzerland, and also plans to expand into other European countries in the future.