Founder Spotlight: JC Bisnar of Investagrams
Encouraging proper risk-taking: How Investagrams plans to advance average Filipinos into the stock market
By Glacer Barnett
For a population of over 100,000,000, the number of Filipinos investing in the Philippines is estimated to be less than 1% of the population (less than 1,000,000). The reasoning behind this relatively small number, in a country that holds one of the fastest growing stock markets in the world, at that, is attributed to the fact that, generally, Filipinos lack the awareness necessary to gather the initiative for investing, for which the usual idea to be capable of handling such an activity essentially lies in having to acquire a degree in business. As a result, Filipinos sadly miss out on the opportunity to tangibly profit from the country’s economic growth in order to better their financial situations. In addition to that, another hindrance lies in the fact that, when there is risk embedded in an activity involving the stock market which looks complex at the get-go, Filipinos tend to back off. A startup called Investagrams attempts to solve this problem of unfamiliarity, by teaching Filipinos that one doesn’t have to be a genius to be a skilled investor.
Investagrams aims take the role of a platform that answers to a stock investor’s every need. Currently, it has 50,000 users and averaging 2,000,000 views per month, rendering itself as the fastest growing website and app covering the stock market in the Philippines. Its primary mission is to provide the education and tools needed in making the act of investing easier to the average Filipino. Furthermore, Investagrams seeks to provide support for investors in the long-run by monitoring their progress, guiding them in their stock market journey. The end-goal for Investagrams is to trigger the growth of the number of Filipinos investing, at least up to 5% of the populace.
A simple trader’s road from the stock market to tech
JC Bisnar is CEO and one of the co-founders of Investagrams. Before JC’s entrance into the entrepreneurial lifestyle, he first learned trading, beginning with an internship in his college years. At that time, JC’s knowledge over the stock market was practically zero, but time eventually provided him with a learning experience. Suddenly, a thought occurred to JC in which, he realized, if he had mastered the stock market, finding teh strategies to know when to buy and sell, then he can reap the great rewards. From that point on, five years ago, JC got into the practice of trading as a college student. ‘’It was what I wanted to do for a living, besides the financial rewards, it was for the fact that I didn’t need to be just be a typical work employee stuck with an 8-5 job. You look out and realize that everybody’s working routinely until they retire. Looking for other alternatives for enjoyment came naturally to me.’’, JC once said. As a trader, JC only needed a phone and internet to make things work , even when he is on vacations, he could still trade and find opportunities. Sometime afterwards, he met his other founders through online trading groups, and with them, realizing that there were no to-go platforms for investing, JC and his co-founders decided to create Investagrams.
Initially, JC wanted to be an
entrepreneur, knowing that there was an obstacle to overcome to be one:
acquiring capital, which he did not have; the lack of it is also the reason why
many young people are discouraged to invest. Confident in his abilities, JC saw
how a life in the stock market would enable him to accumulate money for this
goal. He looked for willing investors that would shell out capital for him to
trade so that he called have a bigger portfolio and potentially have bigger profits. After a while, he was able to
pay back all of his investors and make their money grow
at the same time. Part of the challenge of trading is that no matter how good
you are there is always a probability for one to be mistaken and incur losses.
Whenever JC would encounter such obstacles, he would step back, self-reflect
upon his actions, and improve himself to move on. JC likens his current
occupation in the stock market to the online games he used to play back in his
high school and college days--an endeavor which he took very seriously, winning
at a nationwide online gaming competition. He says gaming is similar to the
stock market because they both require making quick decisions, analyzing
systems and strategies, and developing reflexive thinking in tough
situations. The main difference is that,
in the financial markets, he is dealing with real money.
At a young age, JC was able to establish and himself financially thru the stock market. It is his advocacy to share the positive impacts of the stock market--given the right methods and discipline--to his fellow Filipinos. In line with this, one of the main missions of Investagrams is to cultivate the next generation so that the youth and, all those that are willing to learn,could be more aware and knowledgeable of the opportunities in the stock market.
Resilience is the core trait that will lead young entrepreneurs to success
JC always looks at himself with a humble perspective. He is not swayed by money nor his achievements, he views himself as if he were still near ‘zero’ in terms milestones. JC instills this specific mindset in order to keep himself driven, grounded, and constantly motivated for self-improvement. He is a fan of simplicity--focusing on the essence of things. As a matter of fact, JC’s respect for one of his highly-accomplished mentors rose when he found out that he didn’t graduate from college, making him realize that one doesn’t really need all the formalities and credentials to perform at a high level after all. Whenever JC would incur a significant drawdown in trading, he would take a step back and always re-assess his strategy, looking for what he could improve for the next time. Through trading in the stock market, JC learned the true meaning of resilience—to stay the course, keeping in mind that whatever happens and no matter how hard it gets, you will always have the opportunity to redeem yourself if you don’t give up.
‘’Entrepreneurs have to be formidable.’’, JC proclaimed. Overall, JC observes that the great leaders in this era have this aura to them which they allows them to influence others into following their set vision. In trading and in life, one has to learn to acknowledge his mistakes as early as possible, learning from them, in order to be able to move onto the next opportunities. JC believes that that is the proper way to translate challenges and obstacles into positive energy for our personal growth.