Hi Amit, welcome to FinTech Interview Series. Please tell us about your journey in fintech and how you started ShareVision?
I’ve always been an entrepreneur in different technology businesses. Initially, I founded a health tech company and, after exiting that, went on to found a startup incubator company, a media-tech company. It was only after I exited the startup incubator, Hirola Group, that I came into fintech. A friend of mine, and now co-founder of ShareVision – Yasin Quereshi – had founded the Trader Channel and needed a CEO to help scale the business. The Trader Channel was a vast network of retail traders, driven by the power of video content. So, it was a sizable community harnessing the power of video content to engage and monetize it. I saw the growth potential of retail trading and the power of video content and live streaming. Yasin and the other co-founders of ShareVision – who were friends from college and had been traders – had seen this need firsthand. Yasin’s background in the retail trading industry, having founded and taken public NAGA Group plus my background from the Trader Channel inspired us to bring ShareVision to the point that we are today. We’re the only streaming platform dedicated to financial content.
What is ShareVision? What kind of fintech solutions and resources do you provide to your customers?
ShareVision is a next-gen social and live streaming platform for investors and traders. Today, we have roughly 50,000 pieces of content – live streams and videos – on the platform. Our users and content creators come from all over the world – from Malaysia to New York. We’re solving the problem around education about investing and other key financial topics for a new generation. And we’re democratizing the delivery of that content by allowing anyone with content to use ShareVision, monetize and engage with their audience. We’re creating a dedicated financial content ecosystem and one that traditional financial companies can use to reach the next generation of content consumers, investors, traders, and so on. Our platform is free to use, and it’s based on search algorithm technology that enables content creators to create, deliver and monetize customized content for traders, economists, and global finance professionals. Anyone can come to ShareVision and either watch or create content. If you’re a content creator, you can upload your content, live stream your content, and engage with our dedicated audience. You can engage through chat, through your streams, and by uploading videos. You can also monetize your content through something that we’ve built and launched called the ShareVision Wallet, which enables content creators to monetize through donations, subscriptions to their content, and soon, advertising, too.
How do fintech users benefit from your streaming platform and technical analysis?
For content creators, it’s about reach: getting content seen by the people who need it the most. We’re democratizing the delivery of that content by allowing anyone with content to use ShareVision to monetize and engage with their audience. For content consumers, it’s about having everything that you would ever need in terms of information, wherever you are in your financial journey, and having everything that you need to learn at every step of your journey. If you need training or advice – whether you’re a complete novice investor or more sophisticated – you can use ShareVision to search through different categories like cryptocurrency, NFTs, gold, and all sorts of different assets and get reliable, trustworthy results. It’s about the credibility of content as well. It’s really important that our customers understand and can see that you won’t find a similar kind of content on TikTok, because ShareVision is about having the right kind of credible information all in one place and then being able to compare it with other channels for financial content. With ShareVision, you’re able to also combine analysis from Bloomberg TV with that of individual content creators and other brands like NASDAQ, Morningstar, and so on all in the same place.
Tell us a little bit about the evolution of the fintech ecosystem and how much it has changed in the last 2-3 years.
In general, the fintech environment has evolved rapidly. Even now, it’s evolved beyond disruption that began with challenger banks – Revolut, Monzo, Starling – firms that are changing how we bank. Now, we’re seeing that kind of innovation across every different industry, from payment providers to mortgages, investing, and trading. And we have this whole behavior where it’s now not just doing it in isolation, but doing it with a community. There are new products like ShareVision that are creating communities that can facilitate learning and investing and being on this journey together. The fintech ecosystem is evolving rapidly, not only in payments and banking but in every aspect of finance. The way we find information about finance is completely changing because of the TikTok generation. But also people want to learn and find information about a host of financial topics much earlier in their lives than ever before.
ShareVision is helping to meet that need, by delivering innovative content on the topics that matter most in finance.
How do advanced technologies such as AI, machine learning, big data analysis, and data visualization influence the adoption of fintech products across regions?
Generally speaking, fintech companies can now collect data that enables them to deliver content – and products, be it lending, investing, or other services, that can be tailored to the needs of various customers. So, in terms of ShareVision and machine learning and AI, being able to actually curate that kind of content is much more powerful now because we have all of the data available to us. We can analyze what people’s behaviors are, what their behavior patterns are and where they are in their customer lifecycle. We can make sure that the right kind of content is reaching the right kind of people, and other businesses can make sure the right kind of products are reaching the right kind of people as well.
Within fintech, a lot of focus is on crypto markets. Tell us about your top 3 observations about crypto assets and what are the concerns and challenges you would associate with crypto?
My personal opinion is that I’m still confident that certain cryptocurrencies are super important to the future of both finance and the web. We’re seeing the shift or will start seeing the shift from web 2.0 to web 3.0, and cryptocurrencies will have a big part to play with that as well. Obviously right now we’ve seen a massive drop in terms of the value of cryptocurrencies across the board. I think a lot of people have lost a lot of money. At the same time, when we see these dips it’s also an opportunity. So, for those like me who do believe in cryptocurrency, it’s an opportunity to see if they can price something very low and get involved. Of course, that’s not advice to buy, but there are opportunities out there. I see crypto evolving as a really important financial tool, but also a technology for new businesses – especially those going from web 2.0 to web 3.0. There are also a lot of scams out there, so you have to be very careful in terms of what cryptocurrency to invest in. It seems launching your own crypto is very easy and accessible now, and you just need to really do your research behind the business launching such currencies.
What advice do you have for crypto platforms?
As more and more people are becoming aware of cryptocurrency, they often invest without much knowledge about the different coins, what could happen to the market, taxes, and all sorts of different things that really you should be aware of before investing. My advice for crypto platforms like Coinbase, Binance, and others is to really invest more in education about cryptocurrencies, and really become thought leaders in the space. They can distribute content on ShareVision and they can have their own platforms where they can distribute content as well, but the goal should be to make sure that people are really understanding – from a young age – what investing in cryptocurrency really means and the effects, both positive and negative.
Could you tell us a little bit about your student competition and its mission?
Education is a very important piece of this. We want to make sure that ShareVision really has a place amongst younger generations because younger generations now are spending so much time digesting content from different content creators and are massively at risk. There’s a lot of information out there, but there’s also a lot of misinformation. Aside from raising awareness about ShareVision with the student competition, we also wanted to make sure that younger people know there is a place where they can come and watch credible content creators talk about different analyses and different tips and tools. It’s not advice that they have to follow, but we give them access to opinions they should take into account when they’re making their own factual-based investing decisions. We also wanted to make them more aware of some of the basics that we believe some of these crypto platforms, funds or brokers should be teaching them as well.
What’s the idea behind your partnership with Morningstar? How would the fintech market benefit from this partnership?
With a range of different partners, that include both individual content creators and businesses, our content library grows continuously. We’ve developed great partnerships, not only with Morningstar but with Bloomberg and NASDAQ too. With Morningstar, the partnership brings more great content to ShareVision, but it also puts Morningstar and its content in front of the people who need it the most. More people should be watching the analysis and news from the likes of Morningstar and others that are on ShareVision, and perhaps spending less time digesting their content from places like TikTok. I think the fintech market will greatly benefit from the kind of content being distributed through Morningstar.
Fintech companies are finding it hard to retain talent. What’s your take on fintech hiring trends and how it would change in the coming months as organizations slowly crawl back to the pre-COVID workplace culture?
Especially within a startup environment, the office culture is very important. Today it’s clear there must be a flexible work-life environment. At the same time, within startups, it’s critical that culture be conducive to collaboration and innovation. Certainly, we’re seeing a difficult market environment; many fintechs have seen their valuations lowered and been faced with challenges in fundraising because they’ve had to adjust their forecasts. Up to now it has been a very attractive market for talent with salaries rising, but we’re entering an uncertain time and we could grow companies having to make cuts. Consequently, there may be a plethora of talent in the market, which is great for businesses like ShareVision. We already have a brilliant team but are always seeking to bring new expertise to the team and I would envision the market becoming more favorable for recruiting top talent.
What are your predictions on the future of fintech education and how companies like ShareVision would play an important role in the near future?
Today, there is very little fintech education in schools; topics such as saving and investing aren’t well integrated into the curricula at many schools. When I was in school, there was little education about investing. We’re seeing a little more today, but students aren’t learning about ICEs and cryptocurrencies. That’s why we feel like companies such as ShareVision can play an important role in education as we can get the right kind of content for those who need it the most. So we’re driving great financial content, but also managing the misinformation as well in a world where anyone can see and believe what they see on the internet.
What’s your advice to every fintech CEO/ CFO?
Being able to innovate and create new products is essential in this industry. As a leader, one of the most important ways to foster that is to build a team that is invested in the company’s vision and has a strong desire to innovate. It’s also important to be flexible. There may be times when your strategy doesn’t work and that’s when you need to be able to listen to others — your team, your customers, your investors — because the landscape in this business is changing rapidly.
Thank you, Amit! That was fun and we hope to see you back on globalfintechseries.com soon.
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Entrepreneur and CEO at ShareVision where we have created the next-gen social and streaming platform for investors and traders.