Invest In Me

‘Invest In Me’ is a service that allows people to invest in the future success of students. It brings students and investors together for their mutual benefit. Investment tools today are systematised and impersonal. We place our savings in the care of the bank and never know what is done with it. What if we could influence how our money is used? 

‘Invest In Me’ takes this idea and pushes it to the extreme by allowing a person to invest in a specific person. Investors pay the monthly loan interest for the student they have selected. In return, once the student has a professional job, the investor receives a percentage of the students salary for a certain period.

The student is able to postpone his/her expenses until a point when they have greater financial ability. The investor bets on the student earning well and in turn, repaying well. One could say that this system treats people as stocks. It was interesting for us to see how people reacted to this idea. How much of a personal relationship would they truly like to have with their investment or investor?

The ‘Invest In Me’ system is flexible and at the extreme can be used to be purely charitable or ruthlessly profit oriented. We wanted to see whether people could balance these to see the possibility of “charitable investments”.
The process of creating ‘Invest in Me’ consisted of intensive, iterative experience prototyping through which we were able to simultaneously develop the birds-eye view as well as the detailed mechanics of the service interaction.

Three rounds of user research were done, using touch-point prototypes appropriate to the goal of each round. The first round was student-centric; aimed at establishing whether students could see clear financial benefits and were receptive to the concept. The next round focused on prospective investors to gauge whether the concept sounded like a plausible investment idea and whether their expectations from the service aligned with those of the students.

The final round of experience prototyping incorporated feedback from both investors and students to address the overarching concerns – how personal a relationship and interaction are people open to and can investors comprehend the idea of “charitable investments”?