Charles Close School of Entrepreneurship’s 2020 Annual Start-Up Fest took place from Oct. 27 to 30. While previous years found hundreds of entrepreneurs gathering in one setting, this year’s competition was completely virtual. That did not stop two Drexel Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity brothers from winning a total of $15,000 for their business idea, WOLF Financial.
Since March, millions of people around the world have been socially distancing and, therefore, finding new hobbies inside their homes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During these unprecedented times, many have turned to trading in the stock market as a way to pass time and earn money. Robinhood, a free investing app with commission-free trades, can be easily downloaded onto one’s phone and used to trade hundreds of thousands of dollars.
That said, not all investors have the prime financial literacy to use their money in an extremely volatile market. Someone could easily lose their entire life savings while trading. Michael Grant Warshowsky (second-year computer science major at Drexel’s College of Computing & Informatics) and Ben Kestenbaum (fourth-year finance and data science student at Drexel’s Lebow College of Business) decided to change that.
“Due to their financial illiteracy, lack of access to quality information that they can comprehend and minimal exposure to financially literate communities, they’ve begun to fall victim to manipulative tactics,” said Warshowsky.
With the two brothers having an interest in finance, they decided to change the dire issue of illiteracy within the world of finance with the WOLF Financial app. Essentially, the app provides investment analyses and content from verified financial professionals. With the pandemic in full force during March, WOLF’s co-founders decided to immediately begin work on the app.
“The problem that we identified in January was perpetuated by the shutdown in March, and the need for a solution became much more urgent. Once we realized this, we hit the ground running and just pushed it out,” Kestenbaum said.
After January, the two fraternity brothers were in the planning stage of their business. They wanted to find solutions to any possible issues and make sure there were no outlying liabilities in the company. In March, they were ready to build their app and productively used their time during the shutdown of Drexel’s campus and the nation.
With multiple Close School of Entrepreneurship competitions coming up, the financial innovators pushed to have their beta app launch in time. During Drexel’s summer term, WOLF Financial won the top prize of $2,500 at the Dragon Pitch. As fall term came along, the company was also entered into the Baiada Incubator Competition and once again took the top prize.They were given $12,500 to grow WOLF Financial, office space at the Baiada Institute for Entrepreneurship and free legal and accounting services.
It is needless to say that Warshowsky and Kestenbaum took full advantage of the resources offered at Drexel.
“There are not many other schools that nurture entrepreneurs the way that Drexel does,” said Kestenbaum. “It reassures the decision to come here, and it’s very nice to be able to compete with and against such talented groups, great students, and great peers. We’ve already gone through Drexel’s Co-op program and have hired students. So, we’d love to continue getting the Drexel community involved.”
With the $15,000 and other free services, the fraternity brothers hope to use their given resources to focus on app development, hiring employees, and marketing and operational expenditures.
WOLF Financial has unlocked potential using Drexel resources, and the community cannot wait to see what is next for them.