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by Em Iverson

front_screenIDEA sat down with the founder of Waylz to talk about gamified investing, his contribution to #OrangeIsIn and why the time is now.

Balazs Sarkany always knew that he wanted to start his own business. A Northeastern graduate with a passion for finance fostered by his co-op experiences, Sarkany was drawn to U.S. equities and capital management and aimed to start his own hedge fund management firm.  Sarkany partnered with Fawas Al Obaid, and later, Ahmed Alkhaled, both friends of Sarkany’s with similar drive and passions. As the team began the process of starting a venture, they learned a few valuable lessons that led them in a direction full of opportunity.

The team realized that they needed a competitive edge. Sarkany didn’t believe he had enough credibility within the industry to win clients and convince them of his capital management expertise. The group decided to turn their finance know-how into a completely different venture—an educational database that teaches new investors the ins and outs of investing. As they conducted more research, they identified that many people have a negative perception of financial management. With IDEA’s help, Sarkany and his team explored ways to make an educational platform both understandable and enjoyable for the everyday person.

“When I say finance, people associate it with thoughts like ‘finance is risky’ or ‘numbers are just not for me,’” Sarkany explained. “We wanted to change the perception of the financial world and make learning how to invest a fun experience at the same time.”

The Waylz app came to life. The app combines gamification and social elements to create a community where players to use virtual currency to make investments based on the real stock market. Waylz also uses short tutorial videos to guide users through the steps of creating an investment portfolio.  Players compete with each other to climb to the top of the leaderboard and become a “Wayl”, which is attained by earning and holding onto as many virtual coins as possible. Because the app is synced with Facebook, players can challenge their friends and share their results on their timelines. Coins earned can be used to download real goods in the Waylz Marketplace—these items include discounts and services from companies like E-Trade.

“The only thing you can do on this app is win,” Sarkany shared. “Giving people the tools to create an investment portfolio without the real consequences of spending their own money is both exciting and extremely rewarding for me.” Entrepreneurship means more to Sarkany than living for the next paycheck—he’s fulfilled by his creation and enjoys the time he spends working on Waylz. Sarkany encourages other students and alumni to take advantage of this opportune time in their lives. Starting a business makes sense without family obligations and a nine-to-five workday, he noted. Although, a nine-to-five job isn’t necessarily on Sarkany’s radar. “I don’t want to be limited by sitting behind a desk, working for someone else. I want to be productive and make my own decisions,” Sarkany said.

  “I created something, you know? I’m living my life on my own terms and connecting with like-minded people on something that I love. The time is now.”

 

Balazs Sarkany and Waylz will be speaking at the Entrepreneurs Club Tuesday 10/7. Waylz launches in the app store this week. Visit the Waylz site for more details at https://waylz.co/

 

The RF Markets team will be at NEXPO showing off their newly launched app now in the iTunes store, swing by their booth!

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