As part of the development, Benzinga spoke with Trading.TV CEO and founder Tobias Heaslip.
About: In light of the pandemic, awareness around financial sustainability rose; society is more interested in saving and investing, rather than spending and saving.
That’s according to Heaslip, who spent nearly a decade in analysis and trading at large buy- and sell-side institutions like Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), Sculptor Capital Management (NYSE: SCU) – formerly Och-Ziff Capital Management – and Barclays (NYSE: BCS).
“It was sort of the golden age of investment banking as it relates to TMT deals and social media was just becoming an investable asset class,” Heaslip explained. “I was eventually asked to become the resident social media expert because I was the only young person to actually use the products.”
Having helped take Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB), Groupon Inc (NASDAQ: GRPN) and Snap Inc (NYSE: SNAP), among others, public, the founder saw a unique opportunity appear given advances in market structure and engagement on social media platforms.
“As a trader, you’re always looking for the next big secular theme,” he said. “In 2019, I started to feel like there were two main secular trends that were going to last for at least 10 years.”
The first was the emergence of the creator economy – individuals monetizing the pursuit of their passion – and the second was the retail revolution with respect to the democratization of stock and alternative asset trading via platforms like Robinhood, Coinbase and Rarible.
“When Facebook and Instagram were coming out, the idea was that creators would come on and provide content that would be sold to advertisers,” Heaslip said in reference to the first big theme. “Then, Robinhood democratized access to investing and I started to see really robust communities start to form online between sneakers, NFTs, and trading cards.”
“We’re the world’s first social livestream and immersive chat platform for traders and financial content creators,” Heaslip said on platform content spanning everything from stocks and options, to cryptocurrency, NFTs, trading cards, and sneakers. “Creators come on the platform, create content via live stream and on-demand video, and there’s immersive chat.”
Core Product: The launch of Trading.TV comes as trends suggest investors more so trust themselves and their embedded networks like TikTok, Reddit and Twitter.
“The data supports that 100%; for as long as we’ve been taking confidence metrics associated with how well the people trust institutions ... that confidence interval is the lowest in history.”
No longer are investors interested in being informed by big-name institutions. Rather, they look to their peer group – friends and family – when it comes to monetary issues.
“What about the billions of people that don’t have that resident financial expert in their network,” Heaslip asked. “They’re going to go to these different online communities and there’s not a centralized hub of all that activity.”
In centralizing the content of those communities, Trading.TV comes as the ideal distribution mechanism to push a fintech product. So, in addition to consuming Trading.TV media, users can trade commission-free stocks, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies, fractionally.
“Once the cryptocurrencies are in custody, we can even do crypto credit cards, crypto banking, and high-interest savings accounts, too.”
Graphic: The Trading.TV platform.
Monetization: On the social side, the firm monetizes via a small tax on tips, donations, subscriptions, and advertising revenue.
“Creators traditionally have relied on sponsorships as the main source of their income,” the founder said. “The problem is that the creator struggles in making those deals themselves – they don’t have the bandwidth – so an internal team will work with both the company and creator to match them up. We make a small commission on that.”
On the fintech side, monetization happens through trading-oriented activities, as well as stock- and margin-lending, and staking.
Recent Events, Innovation Outlook: In addition to partnering with brands like Benzinga, to expand the depth and breadth of its product offer, Trading.TV announced the closure of a $6.1 million seed round.
Funds will be used to help the firm exit its beta, launch a $1 million creator fund, as well as hone in on design and engineering.
“We’re trying to bring engineering in-house,” Heaslip said on how difficult it is to procure computer science talents. “We’re well oversubscribed from a creative standpoint and we want to make sure feedback is going into product development.”
To join the Trading.TV waitlist, click here.
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