When he was 12 years old, Michael Katchen entered a stock picking investment contest.
Everyone pretended to invest $100,000 and whomever's portfolio was worth the most money at the end of eight weeks would be the winner.
Katchen invested all of his faux funds into tech company, MGI Software. In the two months of the contest, the stock price shot up almost 300 percent and Katchen won.
"I thought I was the king of the world," Katchen tells CNBC. "That's where I fell in love with investing." He started dabbling in investing as a teenager and had a portfolio of about $1000 that he would watch, he says.
After graduating from University of Western Ontario, Katchen worked at McKinsey & Company as a consultant for two years, where he met Brett Huneycutt, and through Huneycutt, Rudy Adler. In 2011, Katchen joined Huneycutt and Adler to run the Y Combinator-backed start-up they had started, 1000memories, which turned smart phones into photo scanners. Three years later, they sold the company to Ancestry.com.
Huneycutt and Adler knew their co-founder Katchen was an investment geek, so they asked for his help investing their new wealth. Katchen summarized his thoughts on how to invest in an Excel document for his buddies. But, like most people, his friends were not actually interested in building their own portfolios. They wanted Katchen to do it for them.
That's when the idea for Wealthsimple was born. The investment service for young professionals, which officially launched in September 2014, aims to make investing simple and straightforward.