Ben Schaechter

Ben Schaechter

Founder of Mazuma Labs

“Portfolio is the best way to keep up with stocks you care about. Input your trades to get live-updating performance on your portfolios.”  Thus reads the description of the latest financial app, Portfolio, on the Apple App Store website.

Portfolio is the brainchild of Heider College of Business alum, Ben Schaechter, BSBA ‘10. Launched March 19, it has seen quick early adoption. But Schaechter knows it is still a work in progress.

“Before Portfolio, I used E*TRADE as well as my own personal spreadsheet – neither of which were great solutions on mobile. I looked around for an application that did what Portfolio does now, and when I realized no one had built it yet, I decided to begin building it with my co-founder, Steven Flory,” says Schaechter.

Features include:

• Real-time updating stock tickers and charts, including after hours;
• Stock performance reports and ability to add trades;
• Summary push notification when the market is closing that compares portfolio performance versus overall market performance;
• Earnings calls reminders and notifications for earnings reports when released;
• Mutual fund support;
• Free, with no advertisements.

Schaechter and Flory created Mazuma Labs, officially incorporated in January 2015, as a corporate entity that would allow the partners to work on finance ideas. Portfolio is the first app the two have launched and remains their primary focus. However, Schaechter admits that they have “a passion for finance and technology” and have other apps in the works.

For someone who is a recent college graduate, Schaechter has a long history with the tech industry.  He was an intern at Lockheed Martin while in high school, the firm’s youngest–ever intern. As a Creighton student, he created GoPollGo, a real-time polling tool that allows brands and media properties to collect and analyze feedback. It was utilized by such companies as ESPN, ABC News and The Weather Channel and eventually acquired by Yahoo!. He worked at TechCrunch as a web developer then signed on with Yahoo! when it purchased GoPollGo.

Schaechter left Yahoo! to take time off and determine what he wanted to do for the next chapter in his life. While most people’s idea of relaxation is a good book or a round of golf, Schaechter spent his down time listening to earning calls and evaluating public companies as investments. “Mazuma Labs was formed out of this sort of behavior and thinking I could contribute something to the space,” he states. “My personality is also one to take risks, and it is very hard to do that at a big company.”

He admits that he traded a single boss at Yahoo! for “tens of the thousands of bosses: our users.” And life at a start-up is not all glamour and success. Far from it, actually. It’s work, a lot of work. “If you don’t work efficiently, things just don’t get done, which isn’t necessarily the case at a larger company,” he has observed. While he has an autonomy that is non-existent in a corporate environment, he works around the clock, seven days a week, to keep up with all he has to do.

Yet the work does not seem like work because Schaechter is learning, and as long as he is learning, he is happy. His career goal is never to become intellectually ossified. “Right now learning for me comes from technically building and scaling out products and systems,” Schaechter states. “In the future, I think that may change to managing people and teams.”

In a case of “absence makes the heart grow fonder,” Schaechter says that the longer he has been away from Creighton, the more he cherishes his four years there. He arrived as a freshmen pre-med student and left with a business degree and a keen appreciation for Creighton’s people and community. He maintains that students are held to high academic expectations but are also “measured by their contributions to the community,” as the service trips at the university-wide level and the Dean’s Honor Roll for Social Development within the Heider College of Business demonstrate.

Schaechter has been removed from the formal classroom for five years now. But as his and Flory’s new app, Portfolio, can attest, he has an intellectual curiosity that will make him life-long learner.