Phil Siarri talks to Julien Brault, founder and CEO of Hardbacon, about how the business got started and how it may save investors from getting screwed!
Hardbacon is a fintech startup based in Montreal, Canada, with the aim of educating the average consumer about investing. I recently spoke to Julien Brault, its founder and CEO, about his background, how Hardbacon came into being, and what the future holds beyond the boundaries of Canada.
Could you give us a bit of background on Hardbacon and yourself?
I’m a former business journalist. I used to write about the stock market, startups and venture capital for Les Affaires in Montreal. I also briefly worked for a fintech-focused VC earlier this year. I saw all these innovations happening around consumer lending, robo-advisors and banking, yet small investors looking to invest money themselves weren’t benefiting from this fintech revolution. So, in June, I launched Hardbacon with the goal of helping millennials invest their money on the stock market.
Since the beginning, the goal is to build a trading platform so intuitive that even someone who knows nothing about investing will end up making the right thing, and build a portfolio that makes sense. That’s the idea behind the company. However, we don’t plan to become a brokerage, because capital requirements and the regulatory burden make it so expensive. We plan to introduce this platform to the world as a stock market simulator, thus only allowing people to invest paper money at the beginning. Eventually, we want to work with regulated brokers in Canada and around the world in order to allow people to use the Hardbacon trading platform to invest real money.
The platform is far from ready at the moment, but we’re already generating revenue. If you go to our website right now, you’ll see that we’re comparing Canadian robo-advisors and discount brokers, and we’re publishing a lot of content about investing. We see those activities as a way to validate our business model. Can we convince newbie investors to open accounts and start investing? We’ve already proven that we can, with almost a hundred accounts opened with our partners thanks to our website.
Who is your main target market?
We are officially targeting the 18–34 demographic. However, it’s much wider than that. Anyone that would like to invest, and don’t feel they are at the level of a portfolio manager, could benefit from checking out our website and subscribing to our newsletter.
You were able to sign several agreements with Canadian robo-advisors and discount brokers. Any lessons learned from this experience?
I learned that face-to-face meetings are essential to establish a relationship with a partner. I spent a week in Toronto and the amount of business I was able to do was amazing. I also learned that, when you work with banks, you’re not going to get anything signed during the first meeting. You need to be patient.
Read the rest of the interview on BankNXT