Category Archives: business model

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.

Move my business in Ireland?

I currently work on the development of Mataf. I’m looking for the best option to accelerate the growth:

  • hire people
  • raise funds
  • work 24/7 (maybe the easiest option :)
  • ???

When I read the following article I thought about the opportunity to move definitively in Ireland…

€10m start-up fund to draw entrepreneurs to Ireland

A new €10m International Start-Up Fund is aiming to encourage overseas entrepreneurs to locate start-up businesses in Ireland.

Enterprise Ireland will administer the fund, which will be open to company promoters anywhere in the world, but will be targeted particularly at the Irish diaspora, international expatriates, the “New Diaspora” (people from overseas who have previously worked or studied in Ireland), as well as serial and mobile entrepreneurs.

Key geographical targets will include North America, the UK, Europe and Australia, and the fund will focus on the internet, gaming, med tech, cloud computing and financial services sectors.

The fund will also target investor-ready projects seeking between €200,000 and €500,000, and funding will be in the form of an equity stake taken by the State in the company.

Forex and SEO…

SEO in the Forex Broker space

The FX space is competitive. Very competitive. Top brokers post earnings in the hundreds of millions per year and the total retail market volume is almost $5 trillion a month. FXCM and Forex.com alone spent more than $17 million on advertising in Q1. Publishers the better for it (FXstreet posted earnings of 515K a month) – there is a huge incentive to do well in the search engines’ organic results. This post looks at the SEO efforts of GFT Forex, Forex.com, FXCM and Oanda, four well known US forex brokers.

I rarely read an article about SEO and Forex, the last time I heard SEO and Forex in the same sentence was in a Blackhat SEO conference (they love forex because the affiliate programs are very lucrative for them). Bart Burggraaf shows the visible SEO strategy part of the biggest US forex brokers. Incomplete but interesting. As you probably know I changed the name of Mataf.net to forexticket and I opened a website per country (forexticket.co.uk, forexticket.fr, forexticket.jp…), I wanted to know if a multiple domain name could score better than a single domain in search engine result pages.

And… I will give you the result later :)

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

Realistic Subscriber Numbers

Interesting post in Maoxian’s blog

Realistic Subscriber Numbers

I have said that I’d like to make $100,000 a year from my weekly newsletter. At $200 a subscriber that means I need 500 people willing to pay me. Assuming the same .77% conversion rate, I’d need 65,000 people to “register” first which means what in terms of traffic? We know from my pathetic stats that the website only gets 20,000 visitors a month with 10,000 uniques. I’d need at least ten times that number to find 500 subscribers. (200,000 visitors > 65,000 registered > 500 paid subscribers)

I experimented the same frustration at the beginning of Mataf

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 :)

Forbes Sells Investopedia

ValueClick paid about $42 million in cash, which values Investopedia at more than eight times 2010 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, according to figures provided by Investopedia’s banker Jordan Edmiston Group Inc. ValueClick said Investopedia is expected to generate about $10 million of revenue during 2010.

WSJ (old article, but I’m just back from a 4 weeks break)

Investopedia

  • 2.2 million unique U.S. visitors per month (comScore, June 2010)
  • 5.1 million visits (DoubleClick Ad Planner, July 2010)
  • 18 million page views (DoubleClick Ad Planner, July 2010)
  • 3.1 million newsletter and 1.7 million e-mail subscribers, and 1.3 million stock simulator users
  • $10 million of revenue and $5 million in adjusted EBITDA
  • nearly 30,000 pieces of evergreen financial related content and develops an additional 7,000 pieces of content each year
  • generates the majority of its traffic organically
  • monetizes primarily by selling cost-per-impression display advertising

Who wants to make a similar proposal for Mataf? ;)

Thank you David for the info