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Heading into the coronavirus pandemic, several trends among the retail investing public made the industry favorable for new entrants to come in and exploit.

Founded in 2020, one of those firms was OUTPRFRM, the fintech that calls itself the independent referee of investing advice, making investing more approachable and simple.

Benzinga spoke with founder and CEO McEwen Hardy to learn more about motivations and products. Here’s the conversation that transpired.

Benzinga: Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today. Care to start with an introduction?

Hardy: I’ve been in technology for about eight years. In both hardware and software, in fintech, for the last five.

I started this company two years ago aiming to pull new investors into the process of investing, as well as helping retail investors engage with the market more frequently.

The goal is to democratize access to financial expertise and provide trading investment advice that is very easy to understand and act on.

We pull financial analyst ratings from New York. Buy, sell, hold, and twelve-month price targets. We compare these twelve-month price targets against the real movement of the stock price.

We then give these analysts scores based on the accuracy of their 12-month price targets, on a stock-by-stock basis.

Can you give an example of how the app works?

For instance, if you were interested in Amazon Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN), you’d go to the Amazon page, within the app, and we would say: “Okay, over the past 12 months, these are the 20-most accurate analysts for Amazon stock, and this is what their current price targets are.”

In addition to that, we’re also generating our own stock recommendations from that dataset. We do that across the entire sector, as well as on a sector-by-sector and industry-by-industry basis.

Where did the idea come from?

My father asked me to join him in a meeting with his financial advisor from one of the big banks. The advisor asked me to explain the difference between Meta Platfroms Inc (NASDAQ: FB) and Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR).

I gave a 10-minute monologue about how the products and audiences are different, and kind of the growth prospects as a consequence of that.

By the end, it was like: “I shouldn’t be explaining this to you. These are blue-chip tech stocks.”

My familiarity and working in the tech industry for some time made me comfortable in my knowledge about those types of companies.

That being said, I wanted some of the external financial input on [valuation] … and some realistic expectations for growth over the next twelve months.

Tell me about growth through the pandemic.

We had our beta-test last February and had interest from both retail and institutional investors.

I even had a friend that works at a San Francisco-based hedge fund that approached me, unsolicited, interested in our data. That was great validation.

He said that a lot of top-tier hedge funds have internal tools similar to what we’ve built.

What is exciting to you most about where you’re at as a company?

We’ve had extremely positive responses and over 400 paid users on the platform, at this point. We’re excited about the opportunity to refine our algorithms and potentially have robo investing, as well.

What’s your pricing structure like?

Currently, we’re at $22 per month, month-to-month. We know that’s not always available within the industry – a month-to-month option – so we wanted that to be a differentiating factor. So, it’s $18 a month if you pay six months upfront or $15 a month if you pay a year upfront.

As we come out of this pandemic and some of the froth settles, where do you see the platform heading in terms of development and use?

I think WallStreetBets and their impact on stocks like GameStop Corporation (NYSE: GME) and AMC Entertainment Holdings (NYSE: AMC), and some others, is impossible to ignore.

As users kind of continue to go back to work and are potentially less engaged, we want to be a tool that you can rely on and check less frequently, while, at the same time, getting the kind of guidance and advice you need.

Further, we’re in the process of raising a seed round.

We have the opportunity to open up our product and, with the framework that we built, plug into new data suppliers and support new markets in weeks.

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