We recently interviewed Yoni Assia, CEO of eToro, as part of our Meet the Disrupters series. The research, set out to identify what sets the most disruptive and innovative companies apart from the rest. Here he explains
What does your business do?
We’re the world’s largest social trading network, we run an online social trading platform where people can trade global markets and share trading portfolios with one another like never before.
Our idea for social and copy trading was our disruptive idea. We built a place where retail investors and traders can share their trading portfolios online so people can see how the experts do it, and then copy these transactions, automatically or manually, in real time in their own portfolios. Unlike automatic trading, which copies signals from unknown sources, social trading copies people through an open social network. It’s a whole new form of investment management for generations X and Y.
How’s it going so far?
The numbers speak for themselves. We’ve got 4.5 million users from over 140 countries and have recently launched new platforms in China and Russia. We’re the largest social trading network and since we started we’ve built a whole new market category. We invented the concept of copy trading.
Was there much resistance to your idea?
People who embraced us originally were ‘tech’ people rather than ‘financial’ people; they came later. There are still traditional money managers who resist the level of transparency and openness, just as cab drivers don’t like Uber. We’re offering investors a trading model that’s light-years ahead of traditional money management; it’s a direct challenge to that old, secretive world so of course some people will resist.
How have you grown and sustained your business?
Always look at what you’re doing and ask yourself: ‘how can I do this better’. For us, especially when we were growing fast in the early days, we did this by always recruiting great people and working hard to build a great culture. Sounds so simple but it’s really not!
We’ve kept things simple, so we can keep innovating within a traditional industry. And we’ve come up with a set of values that define who we are, the culture we’re trying to create and the things we’re trying to achieve – we then put these into practise in everything we do, from recruitment to product development. They’re built around what make us different; the fact that we believe our customers should have fun and enjoy managing their money, and our employees should have fun and enjoy their time at work.
How have you done things differently?
We’ve built ourselves on a Silicon Valley mentality of ‘fail fast’ in a pragmatic, fast-paced way. We’ve insisted on being comfortable with the fact that we will fail sometimes, then changing what we do to launch lots of things.
How has the ‘disrupter’ label helped your business?
It’s helped us build market awareness and get early adopters to look at what we’re doing; being disruptive in such a traditional industry and working hard for change. It’s also reminded us to keep on constantly improving and innovating our product. By trying not to be afraid of drastic change, remembering that change is good and will almost always be for the better. Lots of entrepreneurs are afraid of change, resisting it or processing it to death.
What’s the best thing about being disruptive?
Having the ability to look at the future and know there’s a chance that we’re actually changing an industry; one as large and archaic as the financial industry. This is something that motivates a lot of us here.
Taken from our Meet the Disrupters series