Swarm was a platform for social trading. It allowed users to easily share their trades and positions to their social network, allowing them to generate validation feedback while also encouraging engaging conversations. The Swarm founders believed that having a convenient way to share and discuss investment strategies would empower the lay investor to make better investment decisions. Collective intelligence in investing would be universally advantageous.
Swarm needed to rapidly prototype and validate their thesis. First and foremost, they had to create the easiest user experience for consumers to be able to connect their brokerages and share their trades in the best possible medium. The ease of creating group chats for their investments was also pivotal, with the goal of creating intelligent discussion around transactions.
Being an early-stage company, Swarm needed to move as quickly as possible while still creating a polished product that would gain rapid traction with users. The first obstacle was creating a seamless experience for users when linking their brokerage to the Swarm application. The more easily the user could link their brokerage, the higher likelihood of Swarm user adoption.
The second obstacle concerned the security of the application. Because of the sensitive nature of users' brokerage information, Swarm had to ensure they chose a partner to incorporate the highest security standards to build trust with their users.
The final obstacle was easily creating group chats to test Swarm’s thesis. The faster we could get users on the platform, the faster we could validate. Building out an entire chat application would not be feasible in such a short time frame.
To attack the first two obstacles, we considered a variety of third-party vendors to handle the broker integration. By relying on a reputable third party, one that had already been established to work with different brokerages and had a great reputation for security, we could save time while implementing a reliable brokerage connection. We ultimately decided to use Plaid to connect users to their financial accounts.
For the last obstacle, we wanted to take the clearest, barrier-minimized path to create group chats between friends. Ultimately, we decided that text message threads would be the quickest and most reliable way to create these desired forum discussions. With customers already familiarized with basic texting, this approach allowed us to create group chats, and customers could receive financial notifications from their social network.
For the MVP launch, we created a web app that allowed users to manage their accounts and groups while also leveraging native text messaging for the group chats. Post launch, we saw a few clear indications of early traction. Swarm had 300 active users within weeks of launch and hit the top three on Product Hunt. Next, we were able to create a Jupyter Notebook of the application statistics for the founders to make data-driven decisions on additional features. Four months after launch, Swarm merged with Iris Finance to grow their validated platform into a fully functional mobile app.