The lack of online Arabic content has been a driving force for many startups in the Middle East. It happens to be one of the core reasons, CEO Samer Sader, founded his fintech startup, Economies back in 2010 with Qasem Ahmed, CTO.
Financial figures, in Arabic
Hailing from Jerusalem and completing his university studies there and in France, with a background in pharmacy, bioinformatics and computer science, Sader gained interest in finance and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). He felt there was a true lack of reliable Arabic online financial content, as well as a need for guidance for traders in the Arab market.
“Less than one percent of the online Arabic language content focuses on information about financial markets, international stock markets, and the trading process. While studying the financial markets, I felt this lack and needed to fill it,” said Sader.
According to him, Economies aims to simplify complicated financial data through infographics , and to increase the unique content that covers different financial markets, including currencies, commodities, GCC and International stocks. “We are mainly working on the trader access to institutional quality data and fundamental/technical analysis presented in a visual format”.
Economies’ target market is estimated at around 550 billion dollars, the amount traded in the GCC stock exchange, $400B of which derives from Saudi Arabia.
The startup, handled by a team of 20 members in Palestine, Egypt, and Jordan, runs two portals: one in Arabic and the other in English (Economies.ae and Economies.com). The English website, which was launched in 2013, showcases global markets, whereas the Arabic website focuses on news and analysis of different financial markets in the Arab world.
What makes it standout
“Our competitors are mainly content aggregators providing content from different sources regardless of its quality. We are content writers and we provide unique content,” stressed Sader. Economies has currently two competitors: FxStreet and DailyFX. “We want to analyze data about the behavior of the users on the website, and to be able to customize the articles based on their interests,” he added. The team has also been gaining advice from Aaron Frazer, a key advisor for the startup, who works in data analytics for Facebook.
The startup has been self-funded to date. “It has been independently growing and generating revenue from its website ads,” said Sader. Several large advertisers have approached the company, including IG, Gain Capital, Markets, FXCM, Trade, and others. Sader explained they are also open to VC funding. “We are exploring an opportunity at the moment, and we are open to discuss any potential agreement with investors,” he said. Though stable and self-funded, VC funding will be elemental if the company is willing to take its business to the next level, as he explained.
The strategic SEO research Sader has been doing throughout the years, managed to grant his platform over two million monthly visitors, in addition to 700K unique monthly visitors, mainly from the Saudi Arabia and the UAE markets. According to Sader, his platform also has 75 percent of returning visitors.
“The research, the training and the work experience in the financial market, allowed me to draw a clear idea of what was missing, the channels to and how to target the audience, and the right keywords to adopt, keeping in mind the importance of presenting high quality content to maintain a leading position in search results”, he explained.
Boosting local youth
Economies has been also working with fresh graduates around Palestine and training them in finance. The firm has actually hired one of three new graduates it trained. He is currently employed as a financial analyst.
Sader explained that graduates used to resort to banks to train. However, they needed a fresher, more dynamic environment, and Fintech services in Palestine and in the Middle East represent a great opportunity.
Economies is now getting ready to launch its mobile version. It will be released during this month (May). It will bring the same features the desktop version has, but will give traders quicker access to financial news and analysis, in addition to the ability to trade directly from their smartphones through an affiliated broker.
Economies has also plans to build an app by the end of this year to simplify the trading process for retail investors. Sader explained that many brokers nowadays have their trading platforms as mobile apps, and his platform will make sure that through their app, traders will get informed before making any decisions about their trades. The app will provide everybody access to the financial markets, even those without any prior trading experience. It will most importantly help them stop losing money by providing them with simple analytical tools, he said.