50 Innovative Companies to Watch 2019
The Silicon Review
“We provide education to help users understand the product and formulate an investment strategy. An effective strategy can deliver a double-digit annual return.”
With over 20 years of financial markets experience, Irene Wong is a structured products expert and a celebrated options trader. As structured products could be hard to grasp even for financial professionals, Irene was often hired by leading global investment banks to train their trading teams. The derivative market is six times larger than the stock market, yet it is largely overlooked by Asian investors as they are not familiar with the product. To help unlock the potential of the structure products in Asia, Irene founded ixFintech, a digital trading, and financial education platform. It aims to make financial knowledge accessible to both retail and professional investors, helping to grow the size of structured product market in Asia and potentially make Hong Kong a dominant player in this area.
Since its founding in 2015, ixFintech has celebrated a number of achievements. Its debut product, the ixOption App, quickly became a top 100 Finance App on the Apple App Store following its launch in 2018. It also received the 2018 Fintech Award form HKET Net and was named one of the Top 10 trading solutions in APAC by CIO Magazine. In the same year, its affiliated company, ixAsia became the first company in Hong Kong to launch a crypto index – the IxCrypto index.
IxFintech is headquartered in Hong Kong with representative offices in Palo Alto, San Francisco, and Vancouver.
ixFintech Limited: Interview Excerpt
Why was the company set up? And how did you expand your company and its offerings over the years?
The company was founded by Irene and three co-founders, who were all veterans of the HK financial industry. Each of them is an expert in a specific field– data, finance education, website, and app development. During the early years, progress was slow as all partners worked only on a part-time basis. Things changed when the company received its first angel funding in December 2018. Having raised over USD 500K and completed a total share buyback, they were able to take on employees and scale the business. Today, ixFintech has six full time and eight part-time staff members stationed in Hong Kong and in Taiwan.
What kind of responses have you received from your consumers over the years? How have they motivated you to shape your company?
We were urged by the market to launch an Android version of our ixOption app. The user feedback is very positive as they like the flow and user experience. More importantly, the app provides some unique tools like the Implied Volatility calculator and the option calculator. Some users ask for option courses, others prefer trading trainings, etc. We have also received requests from investment banks to feature their products on the ixOption app.
Similar to many businesses in Hong Kong, we see huge potential in China and other Asia markets as they have lots of room to grow. Therefore, we aim to design more derivatives learning tools within ixOption that could be adopted in those markets in the future.
Can you share with us the roadmap of ixFintech Limited?
We have a number of exciting projects in the pipeline. First, we are enhancing our app to facilitate the better matching of clients and derivatives products. Second, we will launch a new digital asset ecosystem. Third, we are developing an option and structured products advisory AI chatbot. Fourth, we are working on integrating blockchain and digital currency for trading and settlement. Currently, we are talking to potential business partners such as banks and exchanges, on collaboration to develop a new ecosystem that combines trading and financial education.
Do you have any new products ready to be launched?
Yes, we are working on synergizing the ixOption platform, integrating it with our upcoming IoT device and the ixAcademia in order to provide our users with a superior assisted trading experience. We are launching the ixAcademia in Q4, which is an online learning platform that allows industry professionals to teach from any location and interact virtually with students from different parts of the world. We are also launching our first crypto ATM in Q4, which converts crypto into cash and vice versa. It is also in our plans to build a point system to link this ATM with all IX services and other merchants.
Can you share with us your vision for the ixCrypto index?
As the Hong Kong SFC announced last winter that investment funds in Hong Kong could have up to 10 percent of their investment portfolios in cryptocurrencies, we anticipate that ETF issuers will start adopting the ixCrypto index in their ETF products. The index facilitates risk diversification and empowers local regulators from a product issuer’s perspective.
Please tell us about ixCircle that was launched recently.
We successfully launched ixCircle this summer. Many friends from the startup community attended our launch event including representatives of the Hong Kong Financial Services Development Council, KPMG, King and Woods, Angel Hub and many incubators.
To help startups and investors find their perfect match, the ixCircle platform provides a database containing detailed profiles of both startups and investors complete with search and filter functions. Allowing both parties to easily find their ideal partners based on their interests and requirements. While members and non-members are both allowed to upload their business pitch videos onto the platform, members will receive additional benefits including matching service and private chats with potential partners on the platform.
Coming in December 2019, ixCircle will start offering special tours designed for their startup members to meet China-based investors as well as find out about setting up business in China. These 3-day tours will initially focus on cities within the Greater Bay Area with plans to include other cities in China in the future. Besides a day of investor meetings and a day touring the city, participants will also be able to view various subsidized housing options exclusive for startups and join a seminar on professional landing services.
“I have been there; searching for the right investor who understands and connects with your value proposition. It takes a great deal of time and discipline. This is why I created IxCircle, to streamline the first step by helping investors effortlessly find and connect with you in a private, secure environment.”
IxCircle’s value proposition is simple: it connects two parties searching for each other. Helping investors that are seeking startups that fit within their investment parameters, and startups that are seeking investors who understand their value propositions. The ixCircle platform is the nexus that brings them together to speed up the vetting process, alleviating many of the early stage courting pains.
The ixCircle Eco-system: