Markets

A Mobile App Alternative To A Bloomberg Terminal

New Fintech startup, Scout Finance, has just come out with a slick new mobile app for professional investors (iOS only for now – Android to come) that provides key corporate fundamentals and other types of data on iPhones and iPads.

Scout Finance CEO, Vivek Nasta, who calls the new app “an alternative to a Bloomberg terminal at a fraction of the cost,” talked about the company’s new mobile tech platform and the impact it could have for professional investors.

Benzinga: What is Scout Finance?

Vivek Nasta: We’re trying to make financial information more accessible to professional investors on the go – specifically, those who can’t afford an expensive Bloomberg terminal.

If you think about it, there are not many solutions between a Bloomberg terminal and Yahoo Finance.

The dream we had – my team and I – was to find something in the middle, accessible by serious full-time fundamental investors looking for something in between.

We knew Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg would never do this the way they needed to in order to capture this market and adapt to the multitude of trends we see all-around us.

We live in a world where you can get an on demand car at a moment’s notice - a world where you can do payroll from your smartphone. However, you can’t get financial information in that same way.

We wanted to take advantage of mobile. What we’re trying to do is change the game. We're trying to make this thing more intelligent in every single way.

BZ: How is Scout Finance different from a Bloomberg terminal?

Nasta: Bloomberg provides stock information, bond information, exchange pricing information, commodities information. Every marketable security or asset is priced and tracked by Bloomberg.

Bloomberg gives you the equivalent of an encyclopedia in an attempt to satisfy 10 to 15 types of people. We are taking a very different tact. What we’re doing is providing just what fundamental full-time investors need.

They may be on the road, in an investment committee meeting, not at their desk, but they still need to be intelligent.

We don’t give them the price of gold. We don’t give them bonds. We don’t give them covenants. We give them actionable information about the 5,000 U.S. equities they care most about. By the way that will expand to international soon.

In other words, we provide the majority of fundamental research investors need with the biggest distinction being the access point.

BZ: What do you mean by that?

Nasta: Our mobile app is one touch. You compile a list of stocks you follow. We automatically download all the documents you need so with one touch you can pull them up.

With a desktop terminal like Bloomberg, you have to click through multiple screens to get access to – say a press release from Apple about a new iPhone. It’s a long, cumbersome process on the terminal.

What we do is something much more humble but much more elegant. We know you cover Apple because you tell us. Our software will already have downloaded that press release for you.

Our system even downloads and places relevant documents in a cache for you so even if you don’t have Wi-Fi they are still available.

BZ: What about availability on different operating systems?

Nasta: Right now, the platform is available as an iOS app in the app store and on a very light Web app. A full Web app is in development.

The current Web app is a very different approach - just one or two pages. It shows you the documents that you looked at on mobile. It gives you an elegant connection point. It’s not like a full-functioning Bloomberg terminal, which is on purpose.

As for an Android version, one of our investors wants us to do an Android version because they think this is going to spread like wildfire in Asia once we add international.

So to recap, just iOS mobile, light Web, by design, with an Android app, to come.

BZ: What about cost?

Nasta: It’s going to go out at $200 per month per seat. To give you a frame of reference, the data we provide is the same underlying data you would get for $2,000 per seat per month on Bloomberg.

We’re giving people Bloomberg quality information for 1/10th the price. The difference being we are not giving the professional investor information he or she does not want or need.

BZ: What makes mobile tech so important to investors?

Nasta: The reason mobile tech is important is because of the nature of investing. Investing has become much more of a global phenomenon. It’s about doing due diligence and meeting with management. It’s much less an ivory tower thing than it used to be.

As an investor, need to be mobile. You have to be where the action is. Importantly, you have to be there with something that comes with you – not a briefcase full of screen prints.

Finally, mobile is the most accessible apparatus in your world. It’s the most personal system you have.

BZ: What do you see as the future of mobile Fintech?

Nasta: There’s a lot of potential in finance and mobile tech that’s kind of horizontal – not vertical.

For example, in the realm of mobile tech, I think the ability to do due diligence on multiple crowd-sourced points of data in an intelligent way is enabled by the fact everyone has mobile.

For example, suppose a farmer in Zimbabwe could provide spot pricing on potatoes? You pick that up on your mobile phone and trade based on that crowd-sourced data.

Or, what if a Chinese colleague saw a fire at a factory? If there was a platform where that colleague could report that, you just found an edge because you now know production at that factory is going to go down.

Imagine crowdsourcing financial data points. Mobile lets that happen. Frankly, we’re at the forefront of that with Scout Finance. Providing immediate mobile access to information is what Scout does.

This article is exclusive to Nasdaq.com.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.