8 Securities Launch B2BService Targeting Brokers and Banks
Financial trading portal 8 Securities launched last week with a bang, so far signing up about 500 hundred customers, and expecting 10,000 new accounts within 12 months. Founded by Mikaal Abdulla and Mathias Helleu, the portal was developed by Cedric Roll and Francis Otshudi who both have more than ten years of experience in building financial trading systems. The development took twelve months and an additional nine months to integrate with the stock exchanges and also market data from content providers and partners.
Prior to 8 Securities, Abdulla and Helleu ran E*TRADE across 15 countries in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Canada. Four of them have their shares in the business and plan to release company shares with the entire staff upon break-even. The company started out with a team of five to get through the core build phase and is now staffed by 27 people — many of whom came from the E*TRADE.
“Hong Kong has the most amazing imbalance of consumer sophistication and corporate complacency that I have ever witnessed. That is why I think it is a great market to launch a disruptive startup. It’s also a great base to launch into China in the future as the economies and capital markets continue to integrate,” Abdulla tells Tech Wire Asia.
Their core belief is that they can radically change the investing model in the region by going against conventional ways. Institutions traditionally control the flow of research and trading ideas to the general public. 8 Securities, though, believes that a fully integrated private social network and trading portal has the power to put control in the hands of individuals. Creating a peer-to-peer network where ideas can be exchanged and information is transparent excited the team, and had been the main motivation for building the portal. Hong Kong is currently the seventh largest stock exchange in the world and boasts over two million individual investors.
Having completely combined the community and trading in a single portal, stock transactions and private social networking has generated real value for 8 Securities users because all of the information is real-time, transparent and actionable. There are certain numbers of social finance apps available for investors, but all of the information provided by people is declarative, and therefore difficult to trust.
8 Securities has successfully raised US$ 8 million to fund post-launch operating costs, largely allocated for marketing, staff and office related expenses. The company expects to generate positive cash flow from this point on. “Our short term plan is to ensure that we stay focused and deliver the promise to customers,” which includes the following:
- the ability to trade over US$ 15,000 and Hong Kong stocks from a single, global account;
- fully personalized trading portal and at least 100 new apps deployed into their App Market this year;
- access to a smart community of investors to share ideas and track trends in real-time through fully integrated social network;
- pricing without any hidden fees that are so common in the industry.”
The company is also planning to release an Application Programming Interface (API) that will allow the development community to build applications for the portal. Substantially, 8 Securities will also launch its brokerage as a web service, which has never been done before. And as a team that has in-depth experience in more than 10 countries and an ambition to grow globally, China and the US are both markets that are of great interest to 8 Securities. As of writing, these regions have over 60 million online investors combined, which is a big potential market for any electronic-trading startup.