Transforming Stock Trading Into A Social Networking Experience: A First Person Perspective by TradingView COO Stan Bokov
My co-founders and I previously built a company that sold commercial trading software. When we sold it, we began looking for a new outlet for our combined skills. We wanted to use our existing experience to build something revolutionary in the stock market industry.
The idea for TradingView came when we realized that both amateur and professional traders needed a place to talk to one another in real-time, using reliable charts and data tools. Lots of web sites had charts, data tools or both but none had a trading platform that used a social network as its core. That’s what differentiates us from other online charting web sites – the ability to post trading ideas, share opinions and ask questions in a real-time community environment.
With TradingView, we are fundamentally changing and improving how financial information is viewed and used. We believe TradingView will do to financial charting what YouTube did to video sharing - make it simple and easy to the interested audience.
New technologies – primarily HTML5 and the cloud – are the keys to our current success. Our charts can be inserted into any website as widgets or a standalone library - any website can get free charts with real-time data. Our cloud infrastructure can easily handle hundreds of thousands of users, which is needed because we are seeing 15 percent monthly organic growth. And our investors can trust that infrastructure because it is built using Microsoft products.
Microsoft has expertise in building scale, building various types of teams, choosing appropriate software solutions or launching in different global regions. That kind of experience can and needs to be leveraged in order to succeed; we took advantage of it in any way we could, including joining BizSpark.
Being a BizSpark member has been essential for us. We bootstrapped TradingView for about two years until we proved the concept; the free software and access to Azure through BizSpark helped us build what we needed in order to impress users and investors.
Bizspark motivated us to build the TradingView companion app for Windows 8 PCs, tablets and phones. It has really cool live tiles that you can pin to your Start Screen and your favorite stocks update in real-time. It’s a great monitoring tool that doesn’t distract from work.
We planned for large scale from day one because our business plan has always assumed global reach. We needed a readily available and scalable infrastructure, coupled with attractive pricing and, of course, 24x7 support. Having all three of these in Microsoft Azure made it an easy choice for us and, believe me, we checked all our options. With Azure, we have more than 100 virtual machines (VM) that handle our backend, data server and frontend needs. We can even add VMs with no actions required from our end if we suddenly get a spike in users.
Another thing that helped our business was applying to an Accelerator. We attended TechStars Chicago and were able to show off TradingView to more than 500 investors during our Demo Day. We raised so much convertible debt that we had to stop accepting investors! That was a good problem to have.
I’ve always wanted to do something in life that didn’t feel like work. That’s how running a startup feels to me – I love it because I’m eager to see an idea become reality. I would caution other startup founders to find a good work/life balance as early as possible in the process, though. If you catch yourself working around the clock, make a change – increased hours don’t necessarily improve productivity. Enjoy what you do, build for scale and the revenue will come.