Scoop: Trading.TV raises $8M to be Robinhood-Twitch combo
Trading.TV, a platform for live-streaming and stock trading, raised $8 million in Series A funding with Lightspeed Ventures leading the round and taking a board seat.
Why it matters: The company is tapping into the pandemic's surge of retail trading and social media engagement by combining the two into one platform.
How it works: Trading.TV aims to be a financial superapp. The company, which launched out of Beta on Monday, is recruiting finance creators and economy wonks to discuss, via livestream, everything from stocks to crypto, NFTs to baseball cards, defi to sneakers.
- In March, Trading.TV plans to allow viewers to buy and sell stocks with a few mouse clicks, directly from a creator's video page. Fintech Alpaca is set to service the company's stock-trading tech.
- Trading.TV also plans to eventually allow users to buy crypto, NFTs and other products.
How it started: Growing up poor in Naples, Fla., CEO and founder Tobias Heaslip made it to college through an ice hockey scholarship, and later—as he puts it—begged his way into Goldman Sachs. His childhood left him with a passion for pushing the underserved to grow their wealth via the stock market.
- Trading.TV was founded with a goal of financial education, and currently runs a stock-trading simulator, allowing users who may be too scared to approach the market to learn with low stakes.
- "We did a lot of research on, why people are not invested," says Heaslip. "The first was they just didn't feel like they had the information to be able to do it successfully."
Of note: Creators who can attract eyeballs are key to the success of platforms like Trading.TV—and can define the audience it builds.
- Trading.TV currently has a $1 million creator fund, and is planning to turn on tipping, subscriptions, and advertising for its creators through the year.
Context: The company's launch comes as so-called "finfluencers" have grown enormous followings through video platforms.
- Kyla Scanlon has some 116,000 fans on TikTok. Personal finance star Rose Han has 616,000 followers on YouTube. Austin Hankwitz meanwhile has 531,000 of his own on TikTok.
- Some creators have complained about the unclear content rules that lead to videos being demonetized or deleted, giving new social media players confidence they have a way in.
Yes, but: Challenges for Trading.TV include content moderation in the highly regulated stock-trading space and bringing more women and minorities into the fold. Trading.TV has incentives in place to get to 50% women and people of color in its Beta stage, but currently appears largely male dominated.
Lucinda goes deeper into the company and the funding round in today's Fintech Deals newsletter. Click here to sign up if you're not already a subscriber.