Indian-American Teen In Florida Creates Algorithm That Assists With Smart Investing

Eighteen-year-old Dhruv Krishnan, an Indian-American schooler in Tampa, Florida, is making heads turn with creating an algorithm that assists with smart investing.  

When Krishnan was only five years old, his grandfather taught him about the stock market, about its highs and lows.  

“All I did then was read and play with action figures, but I would always hang out with my grandfather. And that was what he did in his spare time,” Krishnan was quoted as saying.  

While Krishnan’s mother was involved in cancer research, his father devoted his career to law. Very early on, Krishnan began showing interest in coding. When he was in middle and early high school, he asked why stocks rarely benefit everyday people or organisations such as “charities, hospitals and nonprofits”. 

In his 9th and 10th grades, Krishnan stayed up late at night to create a stock market algorithm — a series of information that instructs a computer on how to finish a particular task. He hoped to create an algorithm to maximise return on investment for people the market leaves behind. 

Krishnan explained that the algorithm simplifies the process for people who lack the time or financial knowledge to navigate stocks. Based on a person’s goals and risk tolerance, it introduces the prospect of investing a sum. With the help of the algorithm, the requirement to turn to an investment company that charges fees can be avoided. Instead, in the process, the individual putting down the funds is the one firmly in control. 

“Having a system that can produce money for you, essentially, gives you the power to help the community,” Krishnan said. 

When his algorithm, which predicts movement in stock market sectors like telecommunication, energy and real estate, was tested in a simulation of the 2012 market, a 138 per cent return was made on the investment for the year. 

In May, Krishnan was awarded for his achievements by the Tampa Bay Business Hall of Fame with its first Future Hall of Famer Award. He and his algorithm stood second at the Hillsborough County Regional STEM Fair two years ago.  

This month, Krishnan is set to leave for Carnegie Mellon University to be part of its leading computer science program. He will wait for two patent applications on his algorithm and its potential applications to be approved there. If successful, his algorithm will pair with a phone app and an intelligent device called Kirby. 

“You could ask [Kirby] questions,” Krishnan explained. “Like, what are my goals for the future? What style of risk do I want to use? How much should I invest?” 

The phone application would offer projections of investors’ existing stock portfolios or function as an automated investing service. It could potentially even churn out an analytical report. 

“When investing stock on your own, there’s a lot of risk involved. This is supposed to provide them with a strong foundation and less worry,” Krishnan said. 

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