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UpDown Connects 200 Investment Groups Online In Fantasy Stock Exchange with Real Rewards

The UpDown, a new online community for those passionate about stock investing, has sparked the interest of several Phillips Academy alumni. “This is a dream opportunity for a student like me, and I am definitely making the most of it,” said Brendan McManus ’05, who currently works as a representative of The UpDown. Harvard Business School students and one Harvard College alumnus created the UpDown in March 2007. CEO Michael Reich, CFO Georg Ludviksson ’08 and CTO Phuc Truong ‘98 are the founders of the website. “I started out as the first intern hired by Michael, Georg, and Phuc,” said McManus. “My primary task was to build relationships with students, investment clubs and financial bloggers to help our site gain critical mass and develop The UpDown brand. We have grown a lot since then. I have now taken over the company financials and continued to monitor member growth and feedback on the site and though our Facebook group.” This new online social network provides a platform where investors can view, share and rate high-quality stock analyses and investment ideas. The UpDown is also a place to earn real money through referring other people, creating quality stock analyses and beating the market. The Andover Investment Group, comprised of seven Andover graduates including Billy Doyle ’05, Andrew Geraghty ’05 and Alison Holliday ’06, currently holds the 13th best-performing portfolio on The UpDown. Currently, there are over 200 groups on the site, including clubs from Harvard University, UPenn, Notre Dame, Boston College and numerous other colleges. The UpDown has received attention from The Boston Herald, The Boston Globe, the Harvard Business School student newspaper The Harbus, Euromoney Magazine and several other sources of media. The UpDown’s unique feature, according to McManus, is the ability of users to earn real money. The networking site provides one million virtual dollars, and when account holders generate returns that outperform the S&P 500, the individual earns real money. The top five earners of UpDown have received a total of almost $1,000, he said. “We have reached critical mass on the site and we are continuing to grow at a very fast rate,” said McManus. Hedge fund professionals back The UpDown and pay performance fees based on how well the strategies work. The website share most of these revenues with its community because their performance heavily depends on the size of the community and the portfolio performance of its members. “As a student, I have always been interested in investing but never had the chance to gain any kind of investment experience,” McManus said. “The UpDown gives students the opportunity to try out [their] investing skills for free and gain investing experience, along with some real money rewards that you cannot get anywhere else. It will also give you a leg up on your job competition if you are interested in a career in investment management.” Faculty members can also benefit from The UpDown site by demonstrating investment theories and analyzing market trends for their finance and investment classes. “I think that both faculty and students would benefit from this kind of hands-on experience,” said McManus ’05. McManus said, “My Andover friends connected me to a social network where I found The UpDown project and Michael’s, Georg’s, and Phuc’s contact information. I took it from there, and the rest is history.”