Today’s profile is with Frede Fardal of Islero.
Islero aggregates equity research and offers it to retail investors.
Our questions are in bold.
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Who are you and what’s your background?
I have a background from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology where I studied Industrial Economics and Technology Management. I was accepted into NTNU’s School of Entrepreneurship where I met the other co-founders. Frede has a background from Cybernetics and Alex has a background from Economics. Alex started trading stocks when he was 14 years old and came up with the idea for Islero about 1,5 years ago. Next we recruited a team of developers from NTNU. Currently we’re a team of six. Our main office is in Trondheim, Norway. We’ve also been a part of Level39 in London, which really is the place to be if you are a fintech startup.
What is your job title and what are your general responsibilities?
Chief Marketing Officer. My responsibilities are two-fold as I work with both building the supply and demand at Islero. On the supply side I make equity research providers choose Islero as their partner for distributing their research through our platform. It also involves recruiting independent analysts. On the demand side I cover everything that is customer related in addition to handling our online marketing and analytics.
Can you give us an overview of your business?
Islero is a European platform that aggregates equity research from independent research providers and independent analysts. We are a subscription service targeting retail investors. We had a successful beta version last year where we cooperated with DNB, Norway’s largest bank. We are officially launching our new version in May, 2016.
• Part of our business model is that 70% of our revenue is distributed back to our research providers and analysts. This gives research providers an incentive to distribute their research through our platform.
• We make the research affordable to retail investors, our monthly subscriptions start at 25 GBP per month.
• We track the performance of the ratings made by our analysts and show their ROI compared to the index. This helps you as an investor to know which analysts are able to perform on a consistent basis.
Tell us how you are funded.
We have raised about $95 000 so far from angel investors and government grants. We’re raising a seed round in the UK this fall.
Why did you start the company? To solve what problems?
Getting hold of high quality information is difficult for retail investors. Today do-it-yourself investors can either go to brokerages, but they are expensive or offer limited market coverage. Or they can search through online forums for good ideas, but then how do you know who is competent and who to trust?
Islero was founded to democratize equity research by making it affordable to individual investors, so that they can make better investment decisions. We work to bridge the information gap between individual investors and professionals.
Who are your target customers? What’s your revenue model?
We are targeting do-it-yourself investors. Our monthly subscription starts at 25 pounds per month. Our revenue is split 70/30 between our research providers and Islero.
The analysts think Islero is great, because they can now focus on producing quality research, while we take care of marketing it and attracting readers. Also they can monetize research that they are already producing.
The investors view Islero as a great tool for finding investment opportunities.
If you had a magic wand, what one thing would you change in the banking and/or FinTech sector?
Having one set of regulations that were applicable throughout the EU.
What is your message for the larger players in the Finance industry?
You should be more willing to experiment and partner with interesting Fintechs.
What phone are you carrying and why?
Google Nexus 5. More value for money than an iphone.
Where do you get your industry news from?
Finimize and Financial Times.
Can you list 3 people you rate from the FinTech sector that we should be following on Twitter?
Christoffer Hernæs – @hernaes. Great blog on fintech.
Michael Halloran – @fintechblogger
Lawrence Wintermeyer – @lwintermeyer. CEO of Innovate Finance.
Can you suggest the name of an Angel Investor or VC that might be interested in being profiled?
The investors we know are the one’s we’re currently working on convincing to invest in our company, so I’d rather not share their names before we have closed them.
What’s the best FinTech product or service you’ve seen recently?
I really like CityFalcon, they make it easy for me to filter out the news that are the most relevant for my portfolio.
Finally, let’s talk predictions. What trends do you think are going to define the next few years in the FinTech sector?Commission free trading applications such as Robin Hood will make it more affordable and thus lower the threshold for individual investors to start investing. It will also increase the pressure on the incumbents to lower their commission fees, which will further benefit individual investors.
MiFID II will lead to more analysts working for independent research shops and boutiques, because the costs of running research departments will no longer be covered by commission fees
Access to market data will become cheaper and more accessible, which will lead to better products for the consumers.
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Thanks to Frede for his answers today. You can find out more about Islero on their website, twitter and facebook.
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