2 major trends top investors and fintech entrepreneurs talked about at Stocktoberfest 2015

review of the 2015 stocktoberfest event with Howard Lindzon

It’s that time of year again: when scores of investors descend upon Coronado, a small town across San Diego Bay from downtown San Diego. It’s there, that for 2+ days, they’re treated to discussions by some of the smartest investors around. It’s Howard Lindzon‘s shindig and Stocktoberfest has become a must-attend event for traders, investors, and fintech entrepreneurs.

Howard’s activities as fintech angel investor (see his Social Leverage portfolio), entrepreneur (previous CEO of StockTwits, Wallstrip), and generally gregarious professional position him as an ideal connector for this event which essentially ran 2 tracks this year (or themes): the race to a $1 trillion marketcap for the largest tech firms and the social finance revolution. For startups, Stocktoberfest acts as a sort of launching pad, with a few of the firms presenting in front of a professional audience for the first time.

Marketplace lending is better

There were a few of themes coming out of Stocktoberfest that resonated with attendees (Lindzon himself wrote up his own 10 takeaways from Stocktoberfest 2015). The first was regarding the big changes facing banking.

With the growth in marketplace lending firms like Lending Club and Prosper, industry analysts think that it’s not only an inefficiency in the market that’s powering these firms, but marketplace lending is just better than traditional borrowing/lending.

According to Lindzon:

At Stocktoberfest, ApplePie Capital, PeerStreet and ProducePay received the most attention from friends in attendance. Hunger for yield matters.

Cost of information (nearly) free, but value going up

Many of the attendees to Stocktoberfest are in the investing content game themselves. They blog, podcast, and tweet about the markets. Some of these analysts, like Brian Lund, have extensive experience investing. Lund, who founded broker-dealer Ditto Trade in 2008, has been trading the markets for over 30 years and his opinion pieces are syndicated to Yahoo Finance, AOL’s DailyFinance, and About.com.

Lund observed that while the price of content is going down, the value continues to improve.

The days when you had to be an embedded analyst at a major Wall Street firm, or pay nosebleed subscription prices to get access to top shelf data and information are over.

Take, for example, Urban Carmel, who writes The Fat Pitch, was named after Pope Urban II by his papal loving parents, and sipped 18-year-old Scotch while Howard interviewed him.  His take on the market is informed, experienced, and insightful, and he gives it away for free.

Gregor Macdonald on energy. Dr. Brett Steenbarger and Chris Kimble on trading. Herb Greenberg and Eddy Elfenbein on markets.  These are just some of the great content providers who showed up at Stocktoberfest.

Just a few years ago, the Finovate series of events were pretty much the only game in town when it came to showcasing top talent and technology in the fintech space. Events like Stocktoberfest are becoming more common and provide a powerful sounding board for fintech startups to get up in front of a room full of prospective customers of their products. Now, it seems like almost every week new fintech accelerators, focused VC funds, and meetup groups are being launched.

Here’s a short video of Howard Lindzon and Jeff Macke talking about what they took away from Stocktoberfest 2015.

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StockTwits growing, hiring, and portalizing

Realtime platform for stock traders to share info, StockTwits has just hired David Putnam, previously head of 800lb gorilla that is Yahoo Finance.  Howard Lindzon’s firm continues to just chug along, growing traffic, rolling out products and now, recruiting seriously for growth.

According to TechCrunch:

According to Quantcast, 465,000 people are now visiting the site per month, which means the company has more than doubled its visitors since early December, when less than 200,000 were checking in to share and trade. This seems largely due to the service’s continuing evolution beyond its TweetDeck roots and creation of its own true investor ecosystem chalk full of video, news and charts — all enabled by an AIR app.

StockTwits has been pushing on a couple of fronts which should interest investors:

  1. investor relations: The firm is serious about attracting IR business, announcing the hiring of Chris Bullock as VP of Corporate Services.
  2. monetization engine: Watching the evolution of Seeking Alpha’s App Store closely, ST has rolled out its own marketplace for data products.
  3. portalize: This is something Putnam knows well from Yahoo but Yahoo made a massive site on curating essential information investors need.  ST is growing traffic by syndicating its own content.  Look for ST to become more of a destination site investor head to for more of the investment/research process.


StockTwits continues to expand, steals VP David Putnam from Yahoo Finance (TechCrunch)