Category Archives: about

Forexticket, next step

I’ve had the impression for some time that I’ve left Forexticket website to continue on its way without managing to improve its growth.   Suddenly I feel like I’m standing still….and that’s not good for my motivation.  As often happens, or indeed as always happens, it took me a while to get to grips with this problem.  But as I turned it around in my head, I managed to put together a plan to kick start my motivation:   let’s put together the means to get the website to the top, not just of the foreign exchange websites, but of the worldwide financial websites…It’s quite a challenge to take on the likes of Yahoo! Finance, money.cnn.com and Bloomberg.  But since nothing is impossible in the virtual world, I think that we’ve got a chance of nipping at their heels and if we’ve got a chance we grab it.  To do this I’m going to have to motivate myself and find the means to do it.

The engines for growth are pretty obvious in my opinion:  increase the number of media and widen the content.  We can increase the number of media by building apps and complete, ergonomic mobile websites.  In fact we’ve already done that, but we want to do it better.  As for content, we can access new markets in addition to foreign exchange, such as shares, indexes and commodities.  The potential audience for these markets is much bigger than for foreign exchange.

Of course, we will have to take another look at our organization.  Because if we are to work with increased quantities of data in conjunction with a wider audience, we will need more staff.  That’s why we’re looking for people with skills in systems admin and it’s a cert that we’ll soon be looking for website developers to man the frontline too.
We will also need the financial resources to support this growth.  I can see two solutions here: self financing or the famous fund-raising exercise.

Self financing has the advantage of leaving the partners with sole control and no need to account for their actions except to themselves.  On the other hand, the resources are more limited, at least in the short term, which will have repercussions for growth.

I can also envisage fund-raising.  The ideal would be a cash injection to cover 4 or 5 years, in the knowledge that the website is generating revenue which should increase year on year.  The upside of fund-raising would be that the engines for growth could be fired up more quickly.  The downside would be the dilution of our shares in the company and the arrival of a new shareholder.   We need to investigate what kind of stake an investor would want in exchange for a cash injection over 5 years and how much we would be willing to give up.

Therefore, we have put everything in place to roll out our strategy for the next 5 years.  This time I don’t see the figures doubling, I see them increasing tenfold.  I know it won’t be easy, but I know it’s far from being impossible.

What you should know about Forexticket?

This year ForexTicket/Mataf will be a 10 years old website. It’s a good reason to have a look in the past and to imagine the future.

During the last 10 years Mataf was my playground. I worked with search engine optimization, online marketing, community management, creating orginal content… I think Mataf was unique in the forex space, most of the trading tools were done before for my personal trading. I developed content I didn’t find somewhere else. And it worked very well, last year I welcomed almost 1 million unique visitors per month in january and march.

The number of visitors was enough strong to take a risk without endangering the future of the site. I decided to build a brand, as the domain name mataf.com was not for sale I completely changed the brand name for ForexTicket. I was aware that this change could drop the number of visitors.

And the number of visitors dropped by 30%. But, thanks Internet’s God, the fall was stabilized and 2012 started -very- well.

Forexticket is a worldwide website. Europe represents more than 50% of the whole visits but Asia (Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, India…) become more important every week.

The mobile version of Forexticket is growing very fast. In december more than 6% of visits are from a smartphone or a tablet and I could reach 7 or 8 percent in january.

So, today we have a new brand, the website should recover all its visitors in the following months. We are strong on mobile and web.

And tomorrow we will be better on mobile and I will try to enhance the brand. We have one distinct website per country, ready to be compliant with all the regulations… And to become an independant broker! … okay, it’s probably a joke, I didn’t plan to transform ForexTicket as a forex broker, I lack some skills and motivation to do that.

Lifestyle Startups: Work to Live their Passion

Lifestyle Startups: Work to Live their Passion
On the California coast where I live, we see lifestyle entrepreneurs like surfers and divers who own small surf or dive shop or teach surfing and diving lessons to pay the bills so they can surf and dive some more.  A lifestyle entrepreneur is living the life they love, works for no one but themselves, while pursuing their personal passion. In Silicon Valley the equivalent is the journeyman coder or web designer who loves the technology, and takes coding and U/I jobs because it’s a passion.

A great article about startup and entrepreneurs. I define myself as “Lifestyle Startup

A broker acquires a financial portal

This morning I learned that Saxo Bank will completly acquire the EuroInvestor portal. They pay a huge amount but I think this a very good move a broker can do now on Internet.

I keep in mind the acquisition of Boursorama by Fimatex (Société Générale) in France at the beginning of 2002. The price was very high : 44 millions Euro (x36 price-earnings – to compare with x32 for EuroInvestor).  This acquisition has helped Fimatex to grow faster (108’000 account in 2001 vs 677’000 account in 2010) and to become the leader in trading online in France.

After my short experience with Synthesis Bank (now Saxo Switzerland) in 2006 I was not far to change the business model of Mataf.net. I thought about the opportunity to become a forex broker. I had a strong forex portal and the skills to optimize the website to collect leads. The choice between forex broker and portal was not easy but I think I made the better choice a the right time… My motivation is to build something, not to make a ton of money.

Today I see 5 differents business in the forex market:

  • Social Networks (including forum). There are a lot of discussion about trading strategy, brokers… A serious broker has to hear the traders to know what they want and he has to work hard to offer them exactly what they want.
  • Forex Portals. This is the biggest crossroads for traders. They can find news, tools, charts, informations, formations…
  • Managed account. Most of them are IB.
  • Brokers. I think they are too much for the forex market.
  • Banks. They will acquire forex brokers because the forex market is ripe for biggest company.

If I had no limit my strategy would be:

  • recruite a team to discuss with traders in social networks. I would contact the owner of forums and networks to work with them (and not against them as many brokers do).
  • Turn my forex portal to a big news and tools provider. And I would optimize the conversion funnel to download my platform and to open account.
  • Offer the best and simplest trading platform.

This is a complete strategy: You perfectly know the forex traders, you can offer them what they want, you have a source of leads, and you have a good trading platform.
OK it’s not enought to be a broker… but it a very good start.

I think, and I hope, that Saxo will follow this line with the acquisition of EuroInvestor.

If I had enough money I would certainly acquire a broker to do the same thing 🙂

Mataf.net is now available in 51 languages

Last month I changed the homepage and I wrote

This is the first step of the most important move since Mataf exists.

And today, after weeks and weeks of work, I have pushed a version of Mataf in 51 languages. I have several motivations in this project:

  • The first motivation is the technical challenge. Mataf.net was designed for 6 languages. It was hard coded. I re-wrote most of the functions and files to accept an illimited number of languages. And Yes, I’m very happy because it works!
  • I also wanted to open Mataf to the Asian market. I know that most of traders in Asia speaks english but I also know that most of people prefers to read in their mother tongue. I think I can have more visitors from Asia than Europe. I was conforted in that idea when I read the interview of Drew Niv (CEO of FXCM)

Well, traditionally FXCM has been very strong in Asian countries. Actually our Asian business is bigger than our North American business; over 45% of our clients come from Asia. We have a hugh presence in Asia

  • Saxo Bank seems to have an important number of clients in Russia, Arabia and Greece… And now, I offer those languages!

  • I have to found a new leverage to increase the number of visitors on Mataf.

My target is to double the number of visitors on Mataf in one year. Last month, which was an excellent month, I had 1.430M visits, 4.475 M pageviews and 0.93 M unique visitors. In May 2011 I expect arround 3M visits, 10M pageviews and 2M unique visitors. This is my impossible challenge 🙂

The translation is not perfect but I will improve that point in the next months…

A new homepage for Mataf

Mataf has a new homepage since few minutes. It’s shorter, clearer and designed for my tools and analysis. And… This page is the same for all the languages. Now Mataf is ready to receive new translation.

This is the first step of the most important move since Mataf exists.