Researching the nuances of Australian investment platform users for Sharesies

We collaborated with Sharesies, the New Zealand based investment platform and fellow B Corp, to act as their local researchers in Australia. Our design strategists conducted over 40 interviews and spoke with Australians across the country to understand their investing motivations, behaviours and experiences. This research helped inform Sharesies’ planning for their forthcoming launch across the Tasman.

Sharesies is an online investment platform that provides Kiwis with an easy and low-cost way to get invested in the stock exchange, with no minimum investment amounts. Sharesies were looking to expand into Australia and had already conducted secondary desk research on micro-investing in Australia, which confirmed a market opportunity. They approached us due to our extensive experience with user research and in product design, and the fact that we are both B Corp certified organisations. 

Sharesies engaged us to carry out more user research via online interviews, to get a deeper understanding of the Australian market, their potential future customers and determine if their product will fit with the needs of the Australian market.

From previous research, Sharesies knew that:

  • More Australians invest than New Zealanders, and they have more income to invest (taking superannuation into account)
  • Australians are more worried about their financial futures and more comfortable doing financial stuff online
  • The competitive landscape is more fragmented than New Zealand and more mobile app-based
  • 88% of Australians millennials would consider changing investment provider if they lacked values alignment

These findings directed our approach to this user research project.

We interviewed 40 individuals, from a sample of the general population here in Australia (e.g. varying demographics, locations, ages). We wanted to ensure we heard from a range of non-investors, novice and experienced investors, so that we captured insights from across the market. 

During the interviews, we were aiming to understand:

  • How Australians approach managing their money, savings, investments etc.
  • Australians’ current attitudes to investing
  • How people approach investing
  • If Sharesies’ current product will meet the needs of Australian users
  • The differences between the Australian and New Zealand experiences, and relationships towards money and investing

Tools and methods

Using Dovetail

Sharesies product design team wanted to carry out the synthesis, so our task was to capture interview data and prepare it for them to draw out the insights. This involved scribing interview notes and tagging the notes in the cloud-based research platform and repository, Dovetail. We used Sharesies’ own Dovetail account so that the research notes and interview transcripts were easily accessible to the Sharesies team and could be used for future reference. 

Observation journal

We also kept an observations journal, generated during our debriefing sessions following each interview. These journal entries fuelled our weekly WIP meetings with Sharesies’ team, allowing us to share emerging insights quickly and helping Sharesies to feel part of the research process. Each interview was also recorded for reviewing purposes. 


The notes and observations gained from the interviews gave Sharesies a clear direction on what was needed for a successful launch in the Australian market – from engaging everyday Australians in investing, promoting self-efficacy for under-represented Australians and considering ethical considerations for platform use.

We were delighted to be able to assist a fellow B Corp in taking their product into our home country, and we can’t wait to see the platform launch here soon. 

Sharesies will be launching in Australia in 2021. You can join the waitlist to get early access here.

Sam Ryan, Product Owner, Sharesies:

"I loved working with the Portable team. It was clear from the get-go that they care deeply about the process and making sure we get the best outcome. We were a super busy team delivering a tight deadline project. Matt, Aishling and Lauren understood this, and made sure we got exactly what we needed. The team went above and beyond expectations to make sure our project was a success." 

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