I first met TipRanks CEO Uri Gruenbaum in his plush, Bauhaus Tel Aviv office in January this year, in what now seems like a completely different world.
Last week, I had the pleasure of catching up with Uri again and the contrast in times was striking. With most staff homeworking, there was a skeleton crew in the office. Gone was the energy and bustle that used to hit you as soon as you walked in through the door, as is the story of many an office in corona times. However, one constant between the two meetings was Uri’s geniality and optimism. You would be hard-pressed to find a more affable, and positive CEO and with good reason.
TipRanks, founded in 2012 by Uri Gruenbaum and Gilad Gat, is without doubt one of the rising stars of the trading world. With approaching 2 million direct users and over 20 million more benefiting from its trading and analysis data via banks around the world. Additionally, clients include financial behemoths like Bloomberg, Santander, TD Ameritrade, and Nasdaq.
Only last week, Markets.com announced the integration of TipRanks Quantitative Strategy Builder. This, just a week after Prytek, a Singapore-based venture capital, invested an additional $12 million in TipRanks, having already invested $3 million in the startup in 2018.
Though it is with Pryteks’ Chairman Yair Seroussi where the TipRanks story almost begins.
‘We Didn’t Know We Were a Fintech Company’
“Well, you know, it’s kind of funny. Like seven years ago, we launched for the first time which was, by the way, a very different browser extension that measured basically if you go to different websites and see someone
saying what you should buy and sell, it would highlight the person using our NLP and when you clicked on it inside your browser, you could open a small report, which showed you what the stance of the person you’re listening to. It sounds so obvious to have something like that, especially now. I think it was basically more or less around the time when the term fintech was coined, We didn’t know we were a fintech company!”
Having won the prestigious best of show award at Finovate, Uri and the TipRanks team returned to an Israeli financial scene hungry for innovation. “We were at the right place at the right time,” said Uri.
“And the way it works and it happened to us again in other countries is once you work with the biggest player there, all the competitors are going to cooperate with you. And that’s exactly what happened to us in Israel. We started working with Bank Hapoalim”
Yair was chairman of Bank Hapoalim at the time and as Uri warmly and fondly refers to him as “the first one that not only gave us a shot but actually offered us to do something with it”
TipRanks Global Expansion – UK This Month
As the fintech sector grew, TipRanks grew exponentially. Seroussi joined Singapore-registered investment company Prytek and both parties joined forces once again. “And so when he joined, you know, obviously we knew that our relationship was only going to grow if and when there was an opportunity,” Uri explained.
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And the opportunity meant that TipRanks could benefit from Prytek’s strong distribution channels in Eastern Europe and the old CIS states. I asked Uri where TipRanks will look to next beyond the core markets of North America.
“The U.K. is partially out. (soft launch) We already support our front pages, but we have so much data. So what we do is we look at alternative datasets, meaning that we use our technology to scan and analyze complicated data structures where we think that investors aren’t able to process the data and our computers can.”
After explaining the intricacies of why the UK has taken so long to fully implement (different reporting methods being the main challenge) “So I’m hoping that by the end of this quarter, we will have everything we need for the UK.”
As the conversation moved onto current events, market conditions, and of course the Coronavirus. For the first time, I saw Uri look a little uneasy “I feel uncomfortable,” Uri said. The trading world has seen record volumes and the massive onboarding of newbie traders, but interestingly for TipRanks, having started long after the financial crash of 2008, the company has not experienced a ‘real’ crash of the markets.
“Yeah, there were a few days where the market crashed four or five percent. But the thing is that you know, we thought that if the markets would be volatile or go down, we would actually get more interest because now people would need more than ever the advice of someone who is accountable, you know, where you can actually see their track record. What happened is that more or less in March, we suddenly had a lot more data usage on our website and I thought, oh, boy, OK, here we go.
“A few days after we started seeing such a wave of investors coming to our website, and so our data usage went up, I think from March to August from about twenty-five thousand people a day to over a hundred thousand people, and our sales tripled. The only thing that impacted us that isn’t good is because we’re not able to travel and attend these events and meet our clients, and our B2B suffered. We had such a big pipeline of brokers around the world that want to integrate us that we’re not feeling it yet.
“But I suspect that we will feel it maybe next year. It would be more difficult to meet our quota.”
However, despite Uri’s conservative view of next year’s growth, TipRanks is at the very forefront of WeathTech – being the first to really implement AI into trading. A recent survey showed that 61% of traders are either using or planning to use AI-based features for their trading. This puts TipRanks in a prime place to not only consolidate their leading global position but grow even further, especially with the rise in popularity of zero-fee trading apps like Robinhood.
“The markets are here to stay and we’re going to see more and more fintech and more and more competition of brokerages on these clients.”
All of which undoubtedly is good news for TipRanks. Watch this space.