TradeHero lays the foundation for the biggest investment social network in the world

TradeHero is looking to build the biggest investment social network in the world, and it has certainly got off to a strong start. Owned by parent company MyHero, TradeHero is a trading simulation platform that serves primarily as a financial literacy education and experimentation tool for traders. 

Since its launch in in January 2013, the app has managed to garner more than 280,000 users and counting, spread over 200 countries, and secured over 2 million validated trades. It was ranked #1 financial app in 75 countries, and within the top 10 financial apps in 114 countries, in the Apple app store. 

There are generally two types of users that TradeHero was created for, explained Mr Dinesh Bhatia, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of MyHero - users who are already trading who are looking for stock tips and a platform to experiment on, and users who are new to trading and are looking for an experiential platform to learn. 

He is confident that there is a sizeable global market for current traders, considering the hundreds of millions of existing retail investors around the world, and trillions of dollars being invested every day in the stock markets.

With regards to new and inexperienced traders, he pointed out, “Just step into any bookstore, and you can see entire sections devoted to teaching people how to trade, indicative of the high level of demand that is in the market. We believe we can capture this audience by providing a safe, experiential platform for people to learn on the smartphone, where users are constantly engaged through inceptions with an active community and be given opportunity to learn from expert traders through validated trades based on real-time data.” 

Developing TradeHero, however, was an extremely challenging process. TradeHero uses real-time market data combined with social networking and gamification elements to make the app more engaging for users. However, there were no pre-existing models and templates to use, and the team had to start from scratch. 

“Not only did the team have to find a way to pull in multiple sources of real-time market data, we had to construct an entire online trading simulation system and connect that with the social networking element to facilitate the creation of an online trading community,” said Mr Bhatia. 

“This would normally take a financial institution hundreds of developers to accomplish.”

TradeHero, however, managed to create the product in a matter of months, and with a very small team of developers. Mr Bhatia attributed this not just to the hard work and dedication of the team, but also to careful prioritisation of different aspects of the development roadmap. “Because of this, we were able to release an initial version to the market with the core functionalities of virtual trading, leader boards and following heroes, before adding in more functionalities based on customer feedback and availability of resources.“

Another critical decision was to focus on one version for the iOS platform, which gave the team a much easier time building the product, adding features and troubleshooting, rather than having to manage this across different platforms and technologies. Following the success with iOS, the team is now working towards the launch of the Android version of the app within the next few months. 

Mr Bhatia believes TradeHero has a huge potential for growth, riding on the collective value generated by members of the community. It brings together a unique blend of experts and followers, all passionate about investing and trading a wide variety of stocks, equities, derivatives and warrants from 22 exchanges around the world. 

“Our Trade Heroes have validated trading histories, as they actually have to place trades and prove their expertise from their investment returns. Through this system, other users can be sure that the top traders on the leader boards are proven trading experts," he said. 

Moving forward, TradeHero’s priorities will be on user acquisition through marketing and the addition of new platforms and language localisation to allow more users to access the product. 

The team will also continue to focus on adding on more functionality to meet user demands and will roll out these improvements across all its platforms. It is also in discussions with banks and brokerages to explore how it can collaborate with them to bring more value to its community.

“With this market potential, we feel we could build the biggest investment social network in the world,” said Mr Bhatia.

TradeHero’s Chief Technology Officer Mr Dominic Morris attended a PPPO session in June 2013, which featured a Microsoft Tour and a talk by Mr Jan Chipchase, the author of Hidden in Plain Sight. “It was great comparing how we do things with our small team, versus established companies and seeing what we can incorporate from them into our work processes. The talk by Jan was also extremely impactful as I gained a better understanding of how we
can decode user behavior and incorporate those insights into our products. The biggest takeaway from both the tour and the talk was the new perspective that the event brought. 

With a product like TradeHero, we constantly look towards many different sources for ideas to do things better, and events like those organized by PPPO are essential to fuel this process.” 

Chief Legal Officer Mr Brendan Gribben attended the PPPO Legal Series - Go Global with IP, which took place in July 2013.“I felt it was very insightful, especially hearing from speakers from the World Intellectual Property Organisation. I also benefitted from conversations with other SMEs on their IP
concerns. Given the nature of our product and TradeHero’s plans to expand globally, it is extremely important for us to understand how best we can protect our intellectual assets in multiple markets. The sessions that SiTF conducted were extremely insightful and have definitely impacted how we implement our IP and patent strategies as a local business with the intention to go global.”