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Talking Success Podcast: The story of Gold-i

Get to know more about Gold-i’s story in an informal podcast hosted by Stacey Jacinta from TalentInTheCloud with our CEO, Tom Higgins’ where he discusses all things FinTech, how to get through ups and downs in the market and how to validate a good business idea. 

 

What was the journey that led you to create Gold-i?

It is an interesting journey and it’s something that I never intended to do from the beginning but is something that I always wanted to do.

I started my first business when I was twelve running a mobile disco called the ‘Thunderbolt Roadshow’ with a friend that we used to charge for. Luckily, he was seventeen so he could drive the van around and we would do all the local discos in the village halls for our friends and it became quite popular, using all the profit to buy new records.

Around 1988, after I graduated from university where I studied electrical engineering with digital computing, I entered the ‘real world’ and got a ‘real job’. Initially, I was not interested in Finance as I thought it was boring and dull but ended up working for a PA consulting group, consulting for a financial Futures exchange in London. I have never done anything other than finance since, so I am happy to admit I was completely wrong for thinking it was boring in the first place!

From this, I moved around a few companies, some quite well-known such as Reuters, but my FX journey started at ADM investor services where I spent around 6 months advising them on their technology and I found it absolutely fascinating. It was my first exposure to FX and I had never seen this type of product before. It was really interesting as FX operates in an OTC market and there was so much more scope and options to do different things.

After that, I went to ODL Securities, a rapidly growing FX retail broker which is where I really found my feet in FX and got to experience both the business and technical side, including large scale FX systems. It is when I left in 2008, during the financial crisis when there weren’t many jobs around, that Gold-i was born.  Luckily, I never had to get a ‘real’ job again. 

 

Wow, starting a business during the financial crisis, that must’ve been a challenge. You have been through ups and downs in the market, how did you get through it?

When you start, you don’t know what to expect and you don’t really know how anything works.

Gold-i was extremely successful for the first 5 years, attaining 100% growth every year and I did find myself becoming complacent. You can end up assuming that it’s always going to be like that and not paying a lot of attention to the general costs of running a business and the number of people you employ, etc.

But, in any business you get cycles, and there are all sorts of external factors that can influence these cycles such as when people buy, what your target audience is doing and what regulations are coming into action. However, businesses survive because they have these cycles and ones that succeed usually have a good understanding of what to do before the negative side of the cycle appears.

Even if your business is making a good revenue, you need to look at the long-term trends and pay attention to forward-looking indicators as earlier as possible and not be complacent.

If your core market is under external pressure from new regulations, for example, then the number of customers you can sell to is shrinking. In this type of situation, there are three things you can do:

1. Sell another product to your current target audience

2. Take existing products and sell them to another audience (which may take some adapting)

3. Take a new market and new product – which can be very risky!

You’ve pivoted your business a couple of times; how did you know when to do this and what process did you go through to make sure it was a success?

When you start seeing the business flattening out or decreasing in your core market on an on-going basis, you need to think about diversifying.

How do you do this? Well, you can pick another area that you think your business can work in. An example of somewhere Gold-i has done this is in the Crypto market with our Crypto Switch solution. We took our existing product in the FX and CFD market, Matrix, and positioned it towards another market that operates with the same type of technology and similar target audience and diversified by expanding our customers base this way.

 

When pivoting or starting a business from scratch, many factors contribute to success, how do you personally validate a good business idea?

The first thing you need to think about is will anybody want to buy your new idea? If the answer is that there is absolutely a demand for it, then you need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is there is a reason that anyone else hasn’t created this or is it that no one has even thought about it? The latter is unlikely, as most ideas have been thought about it some way or another.
  • Is there a patent to stop you doing it?
  • If it does exist, then is it a very competitive space?

Next to think about would be the price to work out if it is truly profitable and like I mentioned earlier, the size of the target market. Once all of this has been validated, go to the industry, and test the idea. If possible, create an MVP (minimal viable product) and show it to everyone you know to get their honest feedback.

 

Listen to the full podcast to enjoy extra questions.

 

Talking Success: Connecting the Global FinTech Community is a podcast by TalentintheCloud, an Executive Search Firm specializing in FinTech talent. It’s hosted by Stacey Japhta and features the top CEO’s, Founders, Investors and Leaders in the FinTech industry where they dive into the highs and lows in their career, failed ventures, and latest trends. This podcast was created to inspire, teach and bring the FinTech community together. If you’re an industry fanatic or even a newbie to this whole FinTech thing, this podcast was made for you!

 

About the author

Gold-i

Gold-i

Gold-i is a global market leader in trading technology, helping hundreds of multi-asset brokers to transform their trading operations with robust liquidity management solutions, award-winning MetaTrader Plug-ins, business intelligence tools and all with the best support in the industry. Gold-i has won over 20 trade awards in recognition of its innovative products, commercial success and future potential, including a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2014. Has been recognised as one of the most influential Fintechs in 2018 and 2019.