This is our first article on a series of profile descriptions on Fintech companies around the world. Today we would like to introduce you “Robur”, a company with offices in Hong Kong and the Philippines. The company, according to their website, provides: “…a range of investment tools (that) give you an edge that will help you build a winning equity portfolio.” More about them under: http://www.roburir.com
Fintech Valley: Could you please give a short description and history about Robur for those companies and audiences that are not familiar with the company and the products?
David Oak: Myself and my partner Derek are both professional equity investors who focus on making equity decisions based on sound fundamental business analysis. We found that existing products that provided fundamental data was either very expensive, or inaccurate. In addition there is a strong bias towards the US market, where data is easier to collate, where we are more interested in other parts of the world such as Asia and EU.
Therefore we hit upon the idea of developing a product that helped investors firstly generate ideas based on 5 year financial performance of the company, and also to provide a clean, easy to interpret interface of balance sheets, cash flow statements and income statements, along with a wealth of other investment ratios and functions
FTV: What are the Unique Selling Points of Robur, what value do you bring to your target audience?
DO: Nowadays it is easier and easier for investors to get caught up in market hype and sentiment, when they should be basing their investment decisions only after proper financial due diligence. Previously this has been time consuming and expensive, yet we make this simple and cost effective – our product is a very reasonable $150 a year for the premium subscription.
Also we focus on non-US listed securities (although we do cover around 1000 US companies), there is a real niche for this kind of service – we believe that Europe, and particuarly Asia is under served in this regard.
FTV: Robur is based in the Philippines, is there an special reason for settling the company here?
DO: Our head office is in Hong Kong, with the data operations in the Philippines. The main reason for this is that we collect the data directly from the reports by hand, and needed access to cost effective, english speaking labour. This means we can be more accurate in collating the data and that we do not have to purchase an expensive datafeed – and these savings we pass on to our users
FTV: What has happened in the last years to the main Financial Corporations to finally adapt new technologies? Do you believe they are reacting quick enough?
DO: I cannot speak for all financial corporations, but the traditional financial institutes such as banking are finally beginning to realise that they have to take a more proactive view regarding the modern day consumers‘ expectations.
One of the major barriers that financial corporations face is the lengthy decision process, they have the capital to hire the best developers and idea generators, but lack the proactiveness of slim fintech organisations. Fintech companies have a huge competitve advantage in the fact that they can react quickly and efficiently to any changes in the market. However I do see financial corporations taking much more interest in the fintech statup scene, offering incubators and seed captial to rising stars and promising products.
FTV: In your option, how relevant are the following 5 factors in the success of a Fintech Company. Can you please grade them with a percentage of relevance. (20% for each one of them, for example, would grade all of them as equally important.) Please feel free to add an extra factor that you believe could be important:
Consumer adoption: 20%
Marketing budget: 10%
Human talent: 30%
FTV: Has it become easier for you to reach Finance corporations and make them hear what you have to say in terms of finance innovation?
DO: I am not sure that easier is the right term, but we certainly benefit from the snowball effect. Once you have your foot in the door with your early adopters, more opportunities present themselves.
One bit of advice would be to get out there and make yourself heard. Don’t be scared to reach out to the big boys in your industry, you will be surprised how far a politely worded email gets you
FTV: What is the most important market for Robur? What are the next plans?
We will be bringing out new products for our individual users, a portfolio management tool is currently being developed by our SW engineers and we will continue to add more and more companies to our terminal.
One avenue we have started to explore is the B2B side of the business. We are partnering with Quandl to provide our data feed as an API to institutional investors, as well as working with ebrokers with the aim of offering some of our products pro bono to their users.
FTV: In your point of view, when is regulation good for Fintech and when is it bad for Fintech ? Is regulation helping or deterring financial innovation?
DO: Personally I take a more laissez faire attitude to Government intervention. Startups, by their very nature, are pretty lean and efficient and should not be subjected to too much regulation – if anything they require local support as the products they develop often makes consumers‘ lives easier.
That being said it is important that the products the fintech industry developed are used for the right purposes. We have all read the news regarding bitcoins usage in the underground world, and this is where regulation is needed.
FTV: Which is the Fintech capital of Asia in your point of view? Why? Is there a recipe or formula for being a successful Fintech capital?
DO: Tough question, and with it being such a new industry here I do not think there is a clear cut winner. Each country faces unique problems, be them regulatory, logistics or culture based. What has been amazing is the surge in entrepreneurial spirit we are witnessing in the area, and the importance of learning even basic coding from a young age.
Fo outsourcing, Philippines has to be a clear cut winner. Their abilty to speak english, quality of education and cost effectiveness makes for an attractive melting pot for companies looking to outsource SW development projects
FTV: Singapore and Hong Kong have innovated tremendously as finance markets, what can other Asian capital cities learn from them?
Their welcoming approach to FDI, transparent regulations and clamp down on corruption are 3 major factors that have influenced their success. Equal opportunity for local and international companies means that only the most efficient survive, which ultimately effects consumers. In other areas of SE Asia, there is still a level of local ‘protectionism‘, but hopefully this will change over time.
FTV: Thank you very much David.
More about ROBUR: http://www.roburir.com/