Budapest-based Broker Comparison Firm Harbors Global Ambitions
BrockerChooser founder and CEO Tibor Bedő
BrokerChooser has ambitious plans. The fast-growing Budapest-based broker comparison platform wants to evolve from a small startup to the first globally successful Eastern European fintech company. Its product is popular and the company has already outperformed the market in terms of customer growth. CEO and co-founder Tibor Bedő spoke to the Budapest Business Journal about how the firm wants to continue its expansion worldwide and what the main challenges are in this journey.
BBJ: What are your plans for this year?
Tibor Bedő: We want to reach EUR 3 million revenue in 2021 based on a huge growth in session numbers. According to our best case scenario, we will reach one million sessions per month in December this year. In the next five to 10 years, we look to grow exponentially. Our mid-term vision is to reach EUR 10 mln revenue by 2025. As a comparison, our revenue jumped to EUR 1.4 mln from EUR 400,000 last year. If we look at our competitors, we can see that even annual revenue of EUR 400 mln is feasible in the long run.
Only boring markets are bad for BrokerChooser. And I don’t foresee boring markets in 2021. In an optimistic scenario, the COVID crisis will slowly be over, while government support remains strong and interest rates stay low worldwide. This would allow capital markets to reach new highs even after so many record years and that will surely interest investors. We are not worried about a potential correction, either. Most traders see attractive entry points in turbulent markets. This is exactly what happened last March, when uncertainty, anxiety and boredom in lockdown translated into new broker account openings and high trading activity.
The rising revenues will be invested in growth. We plan a serious increase in the size of our team from the current 35 members. We want to hire mainly juniors now, young people fresh out of university with up to two years’ experience.
We also seek to expand our product range beyond broker comparison to be one step closer to our vision of helping people invest. We have some exciting products in the pipeline.
BBJ: How do you want to finance growth?
TB: I am very proud that we’ve always financed our growth from our own sources and we want to continue doing so. Although we are not actively looking for investors, we are always open to attractive quality offers. Several venture capital funds have already approached us, mainly from Hungary and the Central European region.
BBJ: What is the current value of the company?
TB: That’s not public.
BBJ: Do you plan an IPO at some time the future?
TB: I wouldn’t rule it out in the long run, but it is not our goal. Lots of big tech companies remain in private ownership. Workplace chat app Slack, for instance, was never listed on any exchange and it was recently sold for almost USD 28 billion.
But if we decide to go public one day, we won’t do it in Budapest. I see parallels between us and Wizz Air in that it was a big Hungarian story on the London Stock Exchange. Who knows, we might even be the next Wizz Air!
BBJ: How competitive is your market? Who are your biggest competitors and why would I choose you?
TB: Very competitive. Our main competitors are stockbroker.com, NerdWallet and some big British online comparison sites, such as MoneySuperMarket. We are better than them in that we are global. It means that a German investor, for instance, can compare not only the best German brokers, but the best brokers from all over the world on our site.
The big question at the beginning was whether the same product would be suitable for potential traders in, let’s say, Oslo and Lisbon? What we have seen is that traders are similar no matter where they are. They all speak good English and they read the same news sources.
Having said that, the German-language comparison sites are still a lot stronger than our site in Germany. So we are about to start testing local language products. We plan to hire local talent in several countries, who we call ambassadors.
Beside global services, we provide a more detailed and deeper broker analysis than our competitors.
BBJ: What is your secret sauce?
TB: Our team. It is a like a super toolbox with a wide range of expertise, including programmers, marketing experts, content writers and designers.
The team is highly adaptable and flexible. As they had already been used to working remotely before the pandemic, they easily embraced the challenges of the COVID crisis. They don’t shy away from change, because everything has been constantly changing at the company. Open group communication and clear norms are key in our corporate culture.
BBJ: How difficult it is to find good people?
TB: That’s a huge problem. There are no developers in the market. Financial analysts have a traditional way of thinking so they prefer to work in a bank and not at a fintech startup. Content writers cannot commit to a team because of their freelancer mindset.
We work hard on company culture to make BrokerChooser a great place to work and I hope that these efforts will eventually pay off in recruitment.
BBJ: What is the biggest challenge for you now as a CEO?
TB: Our team is growing fast and I have never managed such a big team. The biggest challenge for me is improving my own leadership skills as well as that of the management team.
BBJ: How have you responded to the battle between retail investors and hedge funds that has been prominent in the news recently?
TB: In response to the GameStop frenzy we created an Uptime Monitor to help customers track affected brokers, like Robinhood, and find alternatives. We saw a more than fivefold (+425%) increase in reader searches for content on alternative brokerage services in just one week at the end of January. Demand for secondary or alternative broker accounts will probably further increase.
This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of February 12, 2021.
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