Julien Brault is everywhere these days.
As the former Les Affaires technology reporter of four years explained in his piece, he left his comfortable job (which, we might add, he was really good at) to work at an investment fund. It didn’t work out and he quit after a month.
Walking home along rue Notre-Dame and unemployed for the first time in years, Brault wrote that he felt “exhilarated.”
“I realized that I no longer wanted to work for someone else. Quite simply.”
And so he started Hardbacon, a stock brokerage comparison tool that doubles as a media outlet. Hardbacon will educate people on how they can invest intelligently. Everyone can do this, argued Brault, but too many people don’t know where to start.
He wants to be as transparent as possible in sending out real tips and updates through authentic newsletters. He wants to help people find the right brokers and robo advisors, and to know how to avoid avoid hidden fees.
“People will say, “Okay, I want to invest,” and they call their bank and the bank tells them they should buy mutual funds because they have an incentive to sell them,” Brault told MTLinTECH. “It’s such a complicated world and it shouldn’t be. In today’s world you don’t need this intermediary telling you what to do.”
Brault is putting his money where his mouth is. Despite being nearly $14,000 in debt after a month-long trip to Europe, he’ll actually update people through his Les Affaires column on how much money he’s accruing through Hardbacon every week. He aptly titled the column “From Zero to a Million.”
“I’m promoting this because I really hope people will follow me,” he said. “When I was a journalist I tried to show people it’s not so hard to achieve what all these other people I was writing about were achieving. But everyone says, ‘Where do I begin? How does it work?’ The idea is that I’m going to show you and tell you everything I’m doing.”
Brault’s tool is similar to another Canadian startup called MoneyGeek, started by a Canadian former hedge fund guy. A “hardcore value investor,” Dr. Jin Choi charges $45 per year to educate people with at least $5,000 to spend in the basics of investing in stocks. He’ll help his users along as they find the right investments.
Brault will earn money off of lead-generation sales every time someone signs up for a Wealthsimple account through Hardbacon.
But more than any of that, he wants to promote an inherent democracy in capitalism. Brault feels that if everyone were to invest their money we could effectively have our say on the outcomes of good and bad companies. Of course, he admits, there’s another side to capitalism, like when a hedge fund ends up stealing loads of money from others. That’s bad, he said.
“People say they want more young people to vote so we have a better government. I want more people to invest in the stock market so we can have better distribution and resources. For me, economic power is stronger than political power,” said Brault.
For Brault, everyone should figure out how the financial system works. A good way to do this is to have a stake in it. And if there is one guy who has effectively done a four-year apprenticeship, it might be him. Writing, researching and observing others people and their businesses for four years tends to educate.
Ultimately, Brault hopes he can become a financial institution. He wanted to become an online stock broker, but it would be impossible for him now, financially.
“I still hope one day I can do it, but I need to build a business around helping people first. It’s my mission.”