Chicago, IL – April 24, 2019 – Wedbush Securities, a leading financial services and investment banking firm, headquartered in Los Angeles, has partnered with Rapunzl Investments, to host scholarship competitions at select Los Angeles public and charter high school students in 2019. This commitment is part of a broader initiative by Wedbush to promote financial education across Los Angeles and represents Rapunzl’s first program outside of Chicago, IL.
Rapunzl gamifies the stock market with simulated stock competitions on a free mobile app which offers students a chance to learn by doing. Students simulate $10,000 portfolios and learn by following their peers’ trades in real-time in order to win scholarships, by having the top-performing portfolio. Rapunzl also provides teacher training, curriculum consulting, and scholarship competitions, in a constant effort to combat our nation’s financial illiteracy crisis.
“This partnership exemplifies Wedbush Securities’ commitment to improving financial education for Los Angeles’ high school students,” states Rich Jablonski and Gary Wedbush, Co-Presidents of Wedbush Securities. “We recognize that financial education is an essential component in ending the poverty cycle, and that a basic understanding of the stock market is imperative in order to participate as an informed citizen in our global economy. It’s about empowering students with a relevant financial lens with which to view the world. We want to challenge the notion that investing is private, or reserved for a select few, and provide students with exposure to various career paths, and hope other financial services firms will follow our lead.”
Rapunzl was founded in 2017 by Chicago-natives, Myles Gage and Brian Curcio, in their senior year of college. The two met during their freshman year of high school, and in many ways, the Rapunzl app was designed to replicate their friendship: a friendship which emerged through a mutual passion for investing and spending too much time on social media.
“There are three barriers of entry to participating in the stock market: fear, exposure, and accessibility,” said Brian Curcio, co-founder of Rapunzl Investments. “Simulated portfolios reduce most of the fear. Our free mobile app provides exposure and these scholarship prizes are providing access. That’s why we’re so thrilled to partner with such an historic firm as Wedbush, which has been around since 1955. Now we can really challenge students’ notions that investing is private and the high returns of Wall Street are trapped in an ivory tower.”
“Rapunzl uses the stock market as a portal to view the world,” says Rapunzl co-founder, Gage. “It teaches students to adopt a financial lens in order to think critically about the world around them. Understanding the stock market is more important than knowing how to invest: it’s understanding how today’s world works, living informed lives, and achieving successful careers.”
In 2018, Rapunzl offered similar simulated investment competitions for Chicago high school students. They attracted over 6,000 students from 60 high schools across the city. Of the students who participated, 85% were low-income and 81% African American or Hispanic. Despite a majority of the students having little to no prior investing experience, the program was a huge success as students gravitated to the platform.
This engagement attracted the attention of Arne Duncan, the former US Secretary of Education, who stated: “Our country needs more innovative approaches like Rapunzl that aim to tackle financial illiteracy and close the achievement gap.”
About Wedbush Securities
Since our founding in 1955, Wedbush has been a leader in the financial services industry, providing our clients, both private and institutional, with a wide range of securities brokerage, wealth management, and investment banking services; Headquartered in Los Angeles, California with 100 registered offices and nearly 1,000 colleagues, the firm focuses on client service and financial safety, innovation, and the utilization of advanced technology.