TRData, a London-headquartered startup with a development team based in Ukraine and the majority of customers in Russia, makes for an interesting European tech story.
The company, which has recently gone through 500 Startups’ London ‘Distro Dojo’ growth hacking program, is building something akin to a “Bloomberg for emerging markets”. It offers traders access to real-time market data, including news and prices, from information providers in Russia and the Ukraine, Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
It’s so much fun to see a hockey stick chart that is not just a ‘future scenario’ but something real and tangible! Anton Pasechnikov
“It was fun. My favourite office toys were a baseball bat and a strike-ball gun. [However] I first realized that I needed to change my life when I was hired to Lehman Brothers one week before they went bust.”
And so it was that in late 2009, Pasechnikov swapped trading for startup life and, perhaps naively, founded TRData, using his own money and a little backing from friends. “We first launched in 2011 and it was a disaster,” he tells me.
“Although we acquired several paying clients, not many traders liked the look and feel of the platform. It was slow, full of glitches and also features essential for proper UX and traction were missing.”
In fact, it wasn’t until 2013 and after backing from Seedcamp that the company began to see some momentum, more recently attaining 20 per cent monthly growth, and no doubt also benefiting from going through the 500 Startups Distro Dojo program.
“It has taken a long time, but it’s so much fun to see a hockey stick chart that is not just a ‘future scenario’ but something real and tangible!” says Pasechnikov.
For a trader, market information is the ocean where they swim and hunt for profits. Anton Pasechnikov
Meanwhile, Pasechnikov says that TRData’s typical user is a trader at a bank who is looking for reliable information from fragmented exchanges in emerging markets. “For a trader, market information is the ocean where they swim and hunt for profits,” he says, no doubt drawing from his own experience on the trading floor.
“As markets get more and more diversified, that ocean is becoming wider and more shallow, creating narrow streams and unreachable lakes of information across the market. We help traders to get a significant competitive edge by unlocking the information in those streams and lakes.”
This has led to one trader from a large global bank making over a million dollars in the first month of using the platform. That’s because, according to Pasechnikov, “TRDATA is the only place where he was able to find reliable real-time information on foreign exchange rates in the Ukraine”.