The Silicon Review
“We primarily focus on the individual investor.”
The individual investors in the market today are at odds. They need real-time decision support and risk management to make informed decisions while trading equity. Founded in 2003, Trade Ideas provides this and also derivative instruments based on a statistical analysis of market technicals. The company’s technology that watches every single stock and ETF is made from scratch by its own talented team of US developers. The Trade Ideas platform watches every tick in the stock market and measures the behavior against the past in real-time. This enables it to give its investors the power that is unmatched by any other vendor in financial technology.
Although the platform is used by Hedge funds, Asset Managers, RIAs, Institutions, Online Brokers, and direct access traders as a premier idea generation and risk management tool, the company focuses on individual investors. Trade Ideas has been consistently delivering for its customers since its establishment. And its consistency has certainly paid off, getting it recognition in the Inc., 5000 Fastest-Growing Privately Held Companies in the United States for four years in a row.
In an important interview with us, Trade Ideas’ CEO Dan Mirkin shined the light on the importance of the company’s platform. He also provided some deep insights into how the company is innovating to keep up with changing times and the stock market. Read on for the excerpts from the interview.
Q. What’s your story? Brief us about your ups and downs that you witnessed while starting Trade Ideas.
All the founders of Trade Ideas learned an important lesson in what is known in our lore as the 50 million-dollar education. Before Trade Ideas, we were part of a big Silicon Valley VC venture that ended up investing 50 million dollars and completely destroying the company, and technology that we had founded previously. The VCs pushed for growth, growth, and more growth with the hopes of raising more money. But dance with the devil, the devil don’t change – the devil changes you. We realized from this terrible experience that chasing growth and getting money from other people was very dangerous because you lose control of the company.
When we started Trade Ideas, we simply decided to grow organically and make good technology and let the rest play out. As you can see, it was a great decision. We started Trade Ideas in 2003 and are about to be on the Inc. 5000 fastest growing privately held companies list for the fifth year in a row.
Q. Given that Trade Ideas provides real-time decision support and risk management for trading equity and derivative instruments based on a statistical analysis of market technicals, how effectively do you address your clients’ pain points?
There is no finish line. We knew this since we started. Build a foundation that allows for fast changes and alterations on both client and server side. Do as much as possible on the server to maintain the competitive edge.
We interact with our customers directly and have a very strong feel for the future of our market. Many from our team still actively invest and have always been at the forefront of the trends. We see all markets going 24/7 for 365 days and all stocks are currently becoming tokenized to avoid the naked shorting issue that has been highlighted by GameStop and other meme stocks. Right now, the markets are very unfair and corrupt in favor of the Citadel type parasitic intermediaries who control everything related to retail investing. The crypto currencies for example do not have this issue at all and require none of the “policing.” Therefore, soon all stocks will trade like Bitcoin and other crypto currencies.
Q. What can you tell us about your virtual artificial intelligence analyst, HOLLY? And how does it help save novices and veterans hours of research and testing?
In the most simple way, our AI is like a card counter in Vegas Playing BlackJack. The processing power that is needed to monitor everything at once and keep detailed statistics on it is something that is simply not possible through personal computers. For the same reasons that mining cryptocurrency requires very special computing power and a server farm. We do the statistical heavy lifting and give our subscribers the feed of when odds are lining up. Then we also provide a complete risk management assessment of what is a good way to handle the risk once you are in the trade. That is what separates Holly and Trade Ideas from other vendors. We are the only technology on the market that is teaching you how to put your money to work and manage the results. It’s like having a virtual Ph.D. working next to you while you invest. Nothing in the market even comes close to our AI and it is a one-of-a-kind server-side technology.
Q. How do you deliver filtered trading opportunities and Algorithmic Monitoring of automated execution orders for hedge funds, traders, and the buyside community?
We primarily focus on the individual investor. Think of the Redditors who are trading GameStop and AMC. That is our market and there are millions of them. We cater to them because they are real risk takers. They put their own money on the line and deal with the consequences. Hedge funds in our opinion don’t really need our software because they trade in a different way.
Q. Trade Ideas stands with the individual investor against ‘Robinhood’ and other brokers who restrict market access. Would you like to elaborate on this a bit?
I believe the markets are rigged against the little guy. Robinhood is really just an extension of Citadel. Find out how much of Robinhood is owned by Citadel. When Citadel says sit, Robinhood sits and when Citadel says stay, Robinhood stays, and when Citadel says turn the machines off because smart gamers figure out that Citadel and Melvin and others have been caught illegally short 300% to 400% to 2000% of a stock that is running up and Citadel and many others are about to go bankrupt – well, Robinhood has to turn the buy button off. The GameStop saga has not ended by a long shot. How does one put value on cleaning up the whole corrupt financial system? I believe, it will be the ultimate great awakening to what is going on behind the scenes in the stock market. This is, of course, not any financial advice, simply my humble opinion. GameStop will end up going well over $100K per share and Citadel and many others will not exist when the dust settles. At Trade Ideas, we stand for fair market access and real supply and demand. We root for the individual investor and real buyers meeting real sellers and real price reflection.
Q. Trade Ideas has been selected for ‘50 Most Trustworthy Companies of the Year 2021.’ Just out of curiosity, how trustworthy is your platform?
In terms of trust, we simply provide you with the best information that we have from the raw data that we collect. Our analysis is all about the numbers. Sometimes, we deal with numbers that are not always accurate, that is the nature of the system. For example, if you look at published short interest on GME it will say something silly like 19%. In our humble opinions, this number is not accurate, but that is a number that is reported. Part of what will be cleaned up by GameStop and the other meme stocks. As in the card counting example before, it is a numbers’ game and we give you the accurate statistical outline of the numbers playing out. People like what we do and many people run tests and compare our information and find that what we put out is as trustworthy as possible given the information that is available.
Q. Who are your clients? Would you like to share a client success story or two?
Our clients are individual investors who actively invest and trade US equities and can be found across 65 different countries. We hear compliments and success stories from customers and affiliates on a regular basis. For instance, one of our customers, DaddyDre, made sure to leave a testimonial saying that he subscribed and made $21k from one stock, NVUS. We have had a multitude of customers write in to claim that they were able to pay for their full year’s subscription in just one day of trading with our software. Many others vouch that they will never trade without Trade Ideas.
Q. Forming and managing innovation teams is overwhelming. That said, how do you keep your decision-makers focused?
We work in a commando military structure. Commandos are able to work in teams or by themselves. They are equipped to move back and forth from team to individual efforts seamlessly. That is how we function. We utilize different stacks to keep track of our innovation pipeline. As mentioned previously, because the management are still active in the stock market instead of just being C-suite executives, we have our fingers on the pulse of what is happening and are able to pivot quickly when needed.
Q. Could you describe your management style and the type of employee that works well with you?
My management style in particular is relaxed and informal. I lead like I want to be led, and this is related to the commando military concept. Also, we have the fortune of deep relationships in the management. Many people who were in the previous failed venture came back to Trade Ideas once we really got going and are not just continuing that long term relationship. We hire many of our customers when we are looking for employees. Having been around since 2003, there are just many people who have extensive expertise with our software. So, we use our customer base as an HR pool.
Q. What’s the most essential trait a new team member should possess, and why?
We look for people who have strong people skills and independent work ethic. It is really that simple. We have software that tracks support interactions and can see how well people are doing. We have learned to screen for it and have virtually zero turnover in the 18 years we have been in business.
Q. What is your company’s policy on providing seminars, workshops, and training so the employees can keep up on their skills or acquire new skills?
We have a complete education framework that is available to all subscribers. We view our customers as our Venture Capitalists, so, we really want to make sure they have a great onramp experience. Additionally, there is continuing education that is available all the time either in virtual classrooms or via video tutorials. There is nothing that prevents someone from learning the ins-and-outs of the software quickly and efficiently.
Q. What new endeavors is your company currently undertaking?
We are expecting the stock market to move to a 24/7 x 365 environment so that is a big server change. Right now, when the markets are closed we are doing server maintenance and other things while getting ready for the next day. When markets don’t close you have to rethink the architecture. That is what we are doing right now behind the scenes.
Q. How do you plan to transform Trade Ideas into a future that is unfolding before you?
We know the markets will change. Our technology was always founded on that notion. We will continue to pivot and move as the markets move. Right now, we have an innovation pipeline that is at least two years ahead of where we are currently. We are excited to continue the innovation and see what the future holds. We know we have technology that is simply one of a kind, like a search engine but in real time and for the stock market. Our plan is to continue to innovate.
The Leader Upfront
Dan Mirkin, CEO: He was born in the Soviet Union and moved to the United States with his family in 1978. In school, he became friends with Philip Smolen who is the Chief Technology Officer of Trade Ideas. Trade Ideas is sort of like friends working with friends making great software to navigate and engage with the stock market.