Big Data Technology for Investor Protection

A skilfully diversified business model

L'AGEFI: Thursday, March 3rd 2011

Cfinancials. The financial portal is evolving in response to the demand from media services to publish data relating to the best performing products.

Based in Lutry, the Cfinancials' platform is planning to diversify its business model. The giant portal already covers a huge range of 9.5 million financial products, through partnerships with SIX Telekurs, Thomson Reuters, Dow Jones and Interactive Data. Up until now, the web site's main sources of income have been the promotion of financial products, pipeline advertising and sponsoring links, and also providing product issuers with statistics on users' behaviour towards their products. We provide statistical analyses of a series of funds, taking into account all relevant factors such as volatility and performance at the end of the day. We then advise issuers on the various options available to them to improve their visibility, explains Michael Heijmeijer, CEO and founder of Cfinancials.

A new team has been set up to ensure that this new service operates smoothly. The platform will thus strengthen its advertising strategy. In particular, since it now offers information pages on the best overall performance of products in several financial magazines and newspapers.

Having launched this start-up in 2006, after gaining more than twenty years experience in finance, its founder declares that he is only following user demand. Recent developments include negotiations with several American media services specializing in finance, seeking to integrate Cfinancials' services.

At the local level, synergies with other start-ups, such as SalsaDev are also planned. We have teamed up with this contextual analysis engine with a view to sorting the information that comes to us from Dow Jones and our other partners that provide information feeds in text form. We are currently in the process of indexing content, and the service should be available later this year. Nicolas Gamard, the founder of SalaDev, has also raised the possibility of creating a fund based on Cfinancial's best performing products. If we create such a product, it would be entirely separate from the platform. Our priority being to maintain our independent status in relation to issuers, clarifies Michael Heijmeijer.

However, the CEO reiterates that his goal has always been to go beyond making financial information available to everyone. The (partially free) site also has enormous potential for vertical searches, with the possibility of selecting or removing numerous criteria, as opposed to Google's horizontal searches, that are limited to the entry of search terms. As a result, it filters searches that would be impossible to carry out elsewhere - even for professionals - with the instantaneous display of the number of results before moving to the full list and then to detailed information on each financial product appearing in the list.

The entrepreneur believes that his information service can be integrated into the value chain of many banks. Starting with some of the financial institutions based in Switzerland. They are his initial target clientele, before moving on to the rest of Europe, the United States and Asia. We recently established agreements with several Asian stock exchanges to receive information feeds directly, he adds. An important step in terms of reducing costs and making information available for both the platform and issuers.

The start-up recorded annual growth of 40% in 2010 and hopes to continue this level of performance. For the time being, the CEO and Chairman of the Board are not giving details regarding turnover, but confirm that the business is currently showing a profit.