( ENSPIRE Man Code ) Software Engineer, Richard Bumbury’s Tech Startup, Populemetry, is Aiming to Eliminate the Wealth Gap
ENSPIRE Contributor: Alexandra Rivera
The investing community in the past has lacked inclusivity. It has been seen as racist, classist, and sexist, especially regarding the Black community, but this changes with Populemetry. Bumbury has made it his mission to provide opportunities for economic growth to a more diverse group of people. To achieve his goals he created Populemetry, which combines investment with entertainment.
Growing up in Brooklyn, Richard Bumbury felt the divide and lack of inclusivity firsthand. Once his family home was foreclosed he realized the reality of needing access to economic opportunities through investing. Bumbury believes his family’s struggles stemmed from his parents. As first-generation Americans from South America, there was a lack of knowledge and access to economic opportunities. Now, Bumbury is set on providing these opportunities for economic growth and mobility, providing generational wealth to a more diverse population, especially Black men like himself.
ENSPIRE had the opportunity to discuss Populemetry, and more with Richard Bumbury.
You said one of your reasons to create Populemetry was because of your upbringing. Can you share why you wanted to start Populemetry?
I started Populemetry because I want to give more people opportunities for real economic mobility. Even though investing is a proven way to build wealth, groups like BIPOC, women, and young people are still underrepresented in traditional financial markets. And newer alternative investments like cryptocurrencies and NFTs tend to favor people who are very tech-savvy and often comfortable with the volatility that makes these assets unattractive to people new to investment.
Ultimately, they end up excluding the same groups of people for a different set of reasons. I want to give everyone the confidence to invest in something they can fundamentally understand, and build on that confidence by creating a shorter feedback loop for their money as they build wealth, so they can see the value of an investment and build the habit. I want to democratize wealth.
Your goal is to provide opportunities for economic growth to a diverse group of people. When did you know you wanted to pursue this and help others who may have grown up similarly to yourself?
I guess you could say I discovered this problem and decided I want to help solve it when I was a kid in middle school or high school. I saw how hard my parents had to work for what we had and, crucially, I thought it was unfair that we didn’t seem to be getting any economic traction. My parents worked very hard but our economic situation didn’t change.
We had enough financially to stay where we were economically but, understandably, I don’t think my parents had the tools or saw the opportunities available to other people as opportunities of which they could also take advantage. It also seemed like my friends and their families had the same relationship with money. It was like there wasn’t enough of it to go around and I thought that was a problem that I could help fix because it didn’t (and still doesn’t) seem like the systems we have in place were designed to help.
How does Populemetry work and what do beginners need to know about your startup?
Populemetry discovers, analyzes, and measures the popularity of entertainment like movies, music, and TV shows, and we are creating a new market where people can invest in that popularity just like the stocks of a business. The biggest difference is that Populemetry lets people invest in something they know because entertainment is a part of their daily life and our shared culture.
We think it’s easier for people to see all the views and comments on the latest trailer of the next big Marvel movie or understand that everyone will be talking about the next season of Stranger Things, and then use their intrinsic knowledge of pop culture along with the data we provide to make informed investments in entertainment popularity. We’re working on building our first regulated exchange now and actively building a community of early adopters to help us shape the marketplace.
What are some of the benefits of investing in stocks from startups like Populemetry?
Let me start by saying that investing in the stocks of a startup is risky because most startups fail. For that reason, you should be prepared to lose your investment, and, in general, I wouldn’t recommend investing money that you need for something else. That said, the high risk comes with a big reward if the startup is successful. If you could’ve invested even a little money in Apple or Google when they were just starting out, you could be a millionaire today.
There’s also the benefit of supporting a cause you care about and encouraging innovation in sectors where big incumbent players just can’t support fresh new ideas because of their size or the risk. Investing in startups is risky but, if you can do it, it could net you big financial returns and you could be supporting important innovation.
What advice can you give to new investors?
The best advice I could give to new investors is to invest in what you know and be patient. It’s SO important to be informed and many people new to investing likely don’t have the time and resources to do the research needed to invest in new businesses and securities. For that reason, I would suggest new investors start by investing in things they understand and care about, where they already have some expertise.
Secondly, I would encourage people to invest where they are confident and then forget about it. Too many people look at investments like gambling and wait for a value increase as an opportunity to sell a make a quick profit. I think it’s important to have a goal in mind from the beginning, invest on a regular cadence, and forget about the swings of the market until you reach your goal. For that reason, it’s also SO critical to diversify your investments so that your financial success isn’t tied to the success of any one business or asset.
Through Populemetry, Bumbury aims to provide more inclusivity in the world of finance and investing. He also encourages new investors to be patient with the system and to invest where they are confident.
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