DHS alumnus develops stock app

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“The best investment anyone can make is their own business.” This is the most important lesson of teacher Joe Navickas’ investing class.  It’s a simple concept, one that most investing students could correctly explain on a test. However, very few students embrace this valuable lesson and use it as motivation to start their own business. 2014 DHS graduate Eli Engelman has taken this concept from the classroom to heart by co-founding a mobile app called iStockAlerts, which uses current trends in the stock market to advise stock owners to buy or sell stocks.

The Individual Stock Page allows users to examine stocks more closely. Beyond the algorithmic recommendation displayed in the Home Page, users can see on the individual stock page whether a stock is overbought, oversold, its recent performance, or even the strength of the current trend.

The Individual Stock Page allows users to examine stocks more closely. Beyond the algorithmic recommendation displayed in the Home Page, users can see on the individual stock page whether a stock is overbought, oversold, its recent performance, or even the strength of the current trend.sell stocks. With more than 5,000 sales on iTunes and an active user base of over 65 percent, Engelman’s creation is already beginning to show returns.

“Based on a variety of technical indicators, we’ve developed a self-evolving predictive algorithm,” Engelman said. “By noting previous success in identifying patterns and trends for an individual stock, our algorithm continually adapts to each stock to make more accurate predictions.”

Engelman came up with the idea of iStockAlerts while interning in New York City during junior year. Through a program called “Discovery Internships,” Engelman had the opportunity to work with an investing bank while staying in New York University dormitories. It was there that he met his business partner, Danny Cajigas, who was interning for a real-estate company. Engelman and Cijigas identified the need for an app that allows users to receive stock information quicker and easier.

“We did notice how the large investment firms got their information a lot faster than both of us, who traded out of personally online brokerage ACCTS (Account Create and Cost Transfer System),” Engelman said. “And I guess that sparked a lot of interest in us to create something to bridge that information gap.”

Engelman and Cajigas note previous success in identifying patterns and trends for an individual stock and their algorithm continually adapts to each stock to make more accurate predictions. The key differentiator of this app is independence, where each user can customize their own watch list. Each stock then will have a slightly modified algorithm.

“Each user can customize their own watch list and each stock will have a slightly modified algorithm,” Engelman said. “Users are immediately alerted when the algorithm notices a change in the trend of any stock.”

Engelman’s interest in business and finance was developed at DHS through classes such as Investing and AP economics. In Investing, Engelman learned about financing, money management and mechanically trading stocks with TD Ameritrade paper money. Local trader Todd Horwitz visited the class once a week to teach students technical trading. Engelman already had background knowledge in investing, but working individually with Horwitz improved his skills even further.

“I think it was good for him because he got to hear a professional trader once a week and it probably got him going and made him think about what he wanted to do,” Navickas said.

While Engelman’s knowledge for business and investing have helped, his most valuable asset in creating his own app is his willingness and entrepreneurial skills.

“I think entrepreneurs are people of action. We all have ideas and think about it, but we don’t necessarily do it,” Navickas said. “Eli is a person of action who had an idea and went out and accomplished it. He is only going to learn and get better for this business or for his next business.”

Since its creation in 2013, Engelman has witnessed the popularity of his app increase. Engelman has been on NBC Chicago to talk about iStockAlerts, as well on WLS 890 Radio. WLS 890 Radio hosts even made a bold prediction, saying that Engelman and Cajigas will be able to sell their app one day for up to $100 million. The sales and usage rate is expected to be on the rise. In the meantime, Engelman and Cajigas plan on further developing their app to see what it can become.

Video courtesy NBC Chicago.

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