[Originally posted Feb 15, 2022]
We are excited to announce our investment in trading.tv, a next generation social media platform for retail investing. Trading.tv enables creators to distribute investment content through a livestream-enabled social media platform. By linking creator content to a trading brokerage, trading.tv allows users to instantly invest on ideas they hear about in the media, community chat, or posted videos.
Aside from organically discovering live streamed content, retail investors form ‘communities’ that drive engagement around specific types of financial content (Crypto, NFTs, collectibles, sneakers, equities etc). trading.tv places the content creator first by allowing creators to monetize via tips, donations, and subscriptions natively within the platform.
Finfluencers (fintech influencers) have been one of the fastest growing groups of creators with great content from the likes of PostMarket, Pomp, Kyla, yet they have no native platform serving their unique needs.
Startups have tried to capture the social media savvy retail investor before, but no company has merged a CNBC & Twitch media platform with a Robinhood-like investment brokerage (see graphic below). By building community and driving engagement through fresh content, trading.tv captures the digitally native retail investor at the point of content creation.
At Lightspeed, we are always looking to back the next generation of transformational founders. The founder of trading.tv, Tobias Heaslip, exudes the values and qualities we seek in startup founders. With deep experience in technology and social media investing at Barclays and Morgan Stanely, Tobias is perfectly suited for creating a new platform for investing. His commitment to build a values-driven organization, aligned with his ability to consistently improve, stood out to us from the instant we met him. We believe his intelligence, grit, and ability to adapt will help trading.tv change how today’s consumer invests.
We also believe there are many macro-economic trends that will support the growth of trading.tv.
First, interest in retail investing is at all-time highs. Retail trades made up 23% of all US order flow in 2020 — compared to 10% in 2010 and 15% in 2019. Nearly a year ago, as GME & AMC blew up, Plaid saw 2M new users join retail investing products in just that week. This trend is not stopping. Investing in the public market is no longer a source of wealth for only the rich.
Second, today’s consumer continues to consume live streaming and live content. Users like the unscripted nature of live and the ability to interact with, and watch others interact with, the host. The live streaming industry grew 2x between April 2019 and April 2020. 63% of people aged 18–34 now watch live content regularly. More than 1 in 5 Facebook videos are live and are watched 3X longer than pre-recorded videos (source).
Third, social elements give the opportunity for rapid growth in trading.tv’s “creator first” positioning. trading.tv focuses on being a social media product first instead of just a digital brokerage. This drives both growth and the quality of the experience. By placing the content creator at the heart of the product and allowing creators to own in the success of the platform via a “Creator Fund” and a “create-to earn token” (allowing creators to monetize on the platform as it grows) trading.tv will enable high quality content and frictionless investing experience.
We’re excited to be leading trading.tv’s $8M round alongside Activant, L Catterton and others.
— Mercedes Bent and Connor Love