The Winklevoss twins of “The Social Network” fame have just dropped $1 million in what journalists are calling “Facebook for investors.” Launched in 2010, SumZero joins the ranks of StockTwits and Stockr as a place where people can go to share ideas on investments and stock trading.
The difference is that membership is exclusive to buy-side investment analysts who work in hedge funds, mutual funds, and private-equity firms. According to the Wall Street Journal, SumZero co-founder Divya Narendra has hand-picked the community of around 7,500 members, rejecting 75 percent of the applicants. Those on the sell-side, like Wall Street banks, are not invited. “We’re offering the site as an alternative to sell-side research,” Narendra told WSJ.
Narenda met Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss at Harvard, where the trio collaborated with Mark Zuckerberg on an Ivy League social network called ConnectU, which became Facebook in 2004. After a legal battle with Zuckerberg over who owned the rights to the site, the Winklevoss twins walked away with a $20 million cash settlement and $45 million in private Facebook stock.
Unfortunately for them, Facebook’s stock market debut in May 2012 was so disappointing that three other shareholders sued Morgan Stanley and Facebook for warning a select group of potential investors about issues with Facebook’s stock price ahead of the company’s initial public offering.
Although neither Narendra nor the Winklevosses were involved in this lawsuit, it stands to reason that they would want a more sophisticated way to keep tabs on future investments. SumZero is the first investment the Winklevoss brothers have made through their new investment firm, Winklevoss Capital.
On SumZero, members are are required to contribute regularly and will lose their privileges if they don’t meet their quota. Outsiders can purchase recommendations from the community, but the tips are carefully curated by the site’s co-founder and are distributed only with the author’s permission.
Inside those walls, however, there could be more valuable data. And in their Manhattan office where SumZero plans to move in October, the Winklevoss brothers will read about it first.
Image by 3DProfi via Shutterstock.