Roman Zhukov, CEO and Founder of ETNA Trader, and innovative trading technology suite for brokers, has been recently interviewed by Accern, a real-time AI platform that helps investors make educated investment decisions by notifying them on important stock-related stories.
Read the full interview below:
Tell me about ETNA. (I know that you guys provide various products, would you be kind to briefly introduce us all of them?)
Roman: ETNA provides a white label trading technology to broker dealers, robo advisors and alternative investing platforms. Our clients typically only need to obtain a license from regulators and partner with a clearing firm. ETNA sets them up with all the trading technology they need to operate a brokerage house or a financial advisory business under their brand name. Our web and mobile user interfaces are highly customizable, and our most creative clients can build their very own unique user experience and further extend ETNA Trader capabilities using our APIs and an easy to use widget designer.
We dramatically shorten the time to market for our clients and reduce the costs of building and maintaining core trading technology. We also help our clients with smaller budgets to effectively compete with industry incumbents by offering a modern trading technology on a pay as you go basis.
How did you come up with an idea to found ETNA?
Roman: ETNA is a spin off of a software consultancy firm that has been building FinTech solutions since 2003. One day we realized that 95% of trading infrastructure we were building for our clients was the same or similar for every firm. We saw an urgent need for a broker-neutral trading technology vendor offering an integrated yet highly customizable front end and back office solution. That is how ETNA Trader journey started.
Our thinking was that ETNA Trader platform would allow brokers, robo advisors, alternative investing platforms and other FinTech firms to allocate 100% of their resources to build the functionality that actually makes them stand out from the competition. The concept proved to be financially viable, and we see lots of interest from FinTech firms and strong growth in number of platform users.
Who are your partners and how they contribute to ETNA growth?
Roman: We partner with clearing firms who offer our platform to their introducing brokers as a broker technology out of the box, ready to go live instantaneously. Brokers and trading firms adopt ETNA API standard to enable numerous third party trading tools or newsletter services to use their execution services. This brings new clients and increases order flow for brokers which is especially important nowadays, in the era of FinTech revolution redefining the world of online investing and trading technology.
Our nearest future plan is to launch a development partner program for FinTech firms. Third party developers and content providers will be able to publish widgets and data sets to make them available to all users working on all white label instances of ETNA Trader platform. The idea is to enable a win-win multi-sided platform model where users benefit from more content, developers benefit from more users and brokers benefit from more activity.
What is your traction so far? Can you disclose any metrics to us such as number of users, etc.
Roman: Currently around 70k trading accounts are powered by ETNA’s technology, and we are rapidly growing month to month. Another indicator of growing ETNA adoption is that 4 out of 16 brokers featured in Barron’s Best Online Broker 2016 Rating are using a white label version of our platform. There was none in 2015. Looking forward to 2017 rating!
Who are your competitors?
Roman: We don’t see a lot of direct competition. Most of the comparable solutions are either outdated with 10-15 years old technology, offer incomplete stack of technology or controlled by our client’s direct competitors. Our main competition is the approach of building and maintaining an in-house proprietary trading technology that is standard from firm to firm and doesn’t add any unique value to the product or service.
Why do your customers use your solution versus your competitor’s solution?
Roman: Our clients can build a nice mobile investing app and go live within weeks or even days. Using our trading technology they can offer low or zero commissions to their clients. And they don’t even have to build their own app as they can white label ours, which would take even less time.
If you are building your own trading infrastructure it may take you years and millions of dollars before you launch a competitive product. Then the fast paced world of technology will make you invest even more into innovating and maintaining your product in order to stay competitive.
ETNA gets you covered by offering modern trading technology on affordable terms.
Roman: Market data is very important for our clients and there are many data vendors offering all sorts of data sets – from quote feeds to curated news. The industry is moving towards cloud-like models of market data distribution where you pay only for the data you actually use. Therefore we consider market data as acomplimentary service to ours and we let our clients pick any vendor that works best for them.
Can you share with us your pricing model?
Roman: Typically the pricing depends on the usage. Our goal is to make our pricing match the business model of our clients. They don’t pay a lot if they have no business in the beginning, or they pay less during “slow” months.
At the same time ETNA is incentivized to allocated resources and keep improving our product helping ourclients grow their business.
What is the next 6 to 12-month plan for ETNA?
Roman: We will be seeing more and more brokers switching to ETNA’s infrastructure including HTML5 and mobile trading terminals, cloud back office, as well as a growing adoption of ETNA API.
As our user base growing we are planning to launch a professional and a lite version of our trading terminals to better fit our customers needs.
Further on we consider expanding to Asia, South America and Europe, as we see solid inbound interest from these markets.