November 2, 2009

kaChing – Investing with the Experts


Interested in investing but not sure where to start? If you’re tired of mutual funds and interested in trying something new, then kaChing just might be what you’re looking for. Known as an “investing talent marketplace,” kaChing lets users select an investor whose style they’d like to emulate and begin “mirroring” this investor’s every trade. Based on the philosophy that investing should be an open source market and that knowledge should be free, kaChing says its mission is to democratize the investing process and give everyone access to the most talented professionals in the industry.

The way kaChing does this is by letting users—who can choose whether to invest using actual money or “virtual money”—choose an expert investor, called a “Genius” in kaChing speak, whose portfolio they’d like to follow. Not only do these online portfolios include listings of past trades, performance charts, returns, and risk metrics, but they also have personal message boards that you can use to contact the Genius investors themselves. From there, choose to track the performance of one or more investors with free email alerts, or put yourself in the game and sign up for a fee-based brokerage account that will automatically mirror the trades of your favorite investor in real time.

Once your account is set up, the Genius investor you have selected will handle the rest, and kaChing will automatically make the same trades in your account as the investor you follow. The management fees that kaChing charges for brokerage accounts—which are set up through the site’s partner, Interactive Brokers, LLC—range from .25% to 3%, depending on the investor you decide to follow. KaChing says it keeps a quarter of those fees, while the rest go to the investors themselves. Whether you are an amateur or a pro, kaChing opens up the world of investing and makes the process fun.

Practical Uses:

  • Stay updated with your investments on a daily basis
  • Work with a “Genius” whose investing style you admire
  • Ask financial questions directly by using kaChing’s investor message boards
  • Access your account on-the-go with kaChing’s iPhone application

Insider Tips:

  • Keep track of the performance of multiple investors on your “Watchlist”
  • Evaluate investors by using kaChing’s “Investor IQ”
  • Try out kaChing by using a “Virtual Portfolio” before signing up for the fee-based service

What we liked:

  • Investors must maintain high scores with kaChing for at least one year before earning “Genius” status
  • Even those with minimal cash to invest can utilize the expertise of financial “Geniuses”
  • Download kaChing’s iPhone, Facebook, and Yahoo applications to access your account on the road
  • KaChing’s continued expansion means new services are frequently added to the site

What we didn’t like:

  • Required to keep brokerage account with Interactive Brokers
  • Must set up separate accounts for each “Genius” you decide to follow


Company Info:

  • Launched: 2008
  • Privately Held
  • Headquarters: San Francisco, California
  • Founded by: Dan Carroll
  • Web site:


  • Virtual Portfolio accounts are free
  • Monthly management fees vary by individual Genius, from .25% to 3% based on assets under management

Submit a Comment