China – what about IP?
Making a move into the burgeoning Chinese market is no easy feat. One of the much-talked about topics revolving around setting up shop in China is the protection of intellectual property (IP), or the lack thereof. According to Financial Post, a report has estimated that 50 to 80 per cent of IP thefts originate from China, and cost the US economy about US$300 billion annually.
“I think it’s a good test of our ability to deliver,” said Morris, who added that the issue is not merely limited to a particular geographic, or China in this case. “And you know if we don’t move fast enough, to make the IP issue a non-issue, we only have ourselves to blame.”
That said, TradeHero does have an in-house legal staff managing a number of patents. “… Our primary protection is speed, a main advantage all startups have, the only advantage actually,” he said. “Every other metric — cash or people — we’re outgunned by big players. But what we have is our ability to deliver fast,” he added.
He further acknowledged that there will always be copycats. The only way to deter these lookalikes is to build and engineer solutions to a high quality level quickly.
Are you game?
At the moment, the startup generates revenue through subscription fees. To follow other players (i.e. Heroes), users can pay a TradeHero Content Credit, which costs US$1.99. This is a recurring monthly fee. The company keeps half of the fee, and passes on the other half to the “Hero” followed.
“I think I liked the idea from the start, definitely, but you know that’s only part of it because obviously at that stage, all there was an idea,” said Morris, who noted that the funding from TNF Ventures played a big part in getting him on board.
By allowing users to follow experts for a small fee each month, TradeHero helps enthusiasts find out more about stock markets without rendering them intimidated. “… The reality is that it’s quite daunting. I know this from my own experience,” he said.
Going forward, there will be more examples of gamification, which will help more people get familiar with the ins and outs of a stock market. “We don’t want something where people come and have to put real money in; they’re already quite nervous about ‘where’s my money?’,” he concluded.