A growing family of apps and startups is looking at ways to unchain institutional investors from their desktops.
Scout Finance is a mobile-only app that gives fundamental investors access to research, filings, pricing, presentations and operational data such as revenue and modeling metrics for the 6,000-odd U.S.-listed equities and ADRs. The app launched last week. (Vivek) Nasta and his handful of employees, who have been working together since the beginning of the year, are so focused on mobile that, he says, “we didn’t even have a web site until a few weeks ago. We’re not mobile-first — we’re mobile-only.”
Trading and capital markets’ workflows have many moving parts, from research and idea generation to execution, order management, pretrade and posttrade processing and the many e-mail and instant messaging conversations that take place around these elements. This is why Scout Finance is focusing deliberately on fundamental, long-short equity investors. “We’re not interested in high frequency traders” or those with a short time horizon, Nasta says. “We’re after the thinkers. These people are focused on themes, reading and fundamental information.”
These are early days for Scout Finance, which received seed capital from Jeff Parker, the legendary founder of First Call Corp. and Green Visor Capital. The company’s web site features an enthusiastic testimonial for the app from CNBC’s Guy Adami — “It was genuine,” stresses Nasta — but long-term user enthusiasm is still to be proved. More mature start-ups attacking other segments of the markets’ workflow have already convincingly demonstrated the durable advantages of a mobile-first approach, however.