Check out my latest LeapRate.com interview:
Today, we had the pleasure of interviewing Octavian Patrascu, the Founder & CEO of CAPEX.com, one of the leading global online brokers. Having over a decade of experience as an entrepreneur and business angel, hearing what Mr. Patrascu had to say about the current online brokerage landscape is extremely interesting for people activating in this industry.
We talked with him about how he sees the post-pandemic fintech sector and what changes he implemented throughout his businesses during these fast-changing times.
When did you decide to start CAPEX.com, and what made you invest in this industry?
I have been working in the online industry since 2008, so it’s been 14 years already. During these times, even though I invested in various and diverse other start-ups, the one that really brings me passion is still represented by fintech companies.
Having the experience and devotion for this sector, I wanted my day-to-day job to remain in online trading.
I founded CAPEX.com in a period where rules became tighter, competition fiercer, and the market more crowded. So, I took it as a challenge to compete and learn from the big players.
What changes have you implemented in your businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic?
We focused on a two-pronged strategy over the last two years: adjustments to our corporate mission and changes for the benefit of users.
Talking about the way we organize:
• We began implementing the Agile method of working and wanted to make sure that all our procedures, processes, ways of working, executing, and so on were done digitally.
• This brought us the recognition of being named a Microsoft success story during the pandemic
• So, for a long time, we’ve been focusing on putting people, processes, connectivity, technology, time, and place together to determine the most appropriate and effective manner to complete a task or project
• For the clients, at a group level, due to market volatility and the enthusiasm associated with online trading, we started to build more products for them and better services. We took action towards lowering spread and fees which gave us an influx of new clients.
On top of it, we created our X-branded product line, which features QuantX, StoX, and ThematiX, and we are close to launching our investing service through DMA:
• QuantX is a smart portfolio builder that allows investors to create an investment portfolio in less than two minutes, based on their preferences
• StoX allows investors to trade unleveraged products with 0 commissions
• ThematiX blends the world’s top companies into top stock portfolios designed to make trading exciting
• DMA – Direct Market Access – Commission-free investing for everyone
Tying this question to the previous one, what makes CAPEX.com stand out from the crowd?
• The spirit of CAPEX.com is the spirit of the employees. We believe this because several of our departments in our company have a great number of young workers. The average employee age is around 27. 43 nationalities, countless cultures, an almost perfect balance between the number of ladies and gentlemen employed – we value and emphasize our team; this is why we always prefer to promote from within
• I believe it is because we began during the most difficult period in the markets, so we had to be forged by our environment and adapt to thrive. Today, online trading is entering a golden age, as many new types of users are joining the markets
• Because we can have a chance to prove that it doesn’t matter that you start last, it’s the classic “the tortoise and the hare” story – we are here for the long run; I see this business as a marathon, not a sprint. Others might have the advantage of time, but you can still become an influential company by hard work, thinking about the client, and the product
What is the most common trend you have noticed in fintech as of late?
I suppose it’s all about democratization these days. This is the term that comes to mind. Democratization benefits not only clients/users of financial instruments or banking but also smaller businesses, which can now accomplish more with fewer resources. This is possible because of the future represented by low-code or no-code, which is predicted to expand at a 44.4% annual pace by the end of 2022, API connections, and other factors.
Today, you can connect the dots to create exceptional products in much less time than a few years ago and still maintain a competitive advantage. Fintechs are becoming more and more popular year after year, and brokerages have begun to shift their focus from traditional brokerage/investment firms to product or marketing firms while maintaining a compliance focus.
What are your goals for CAPEX.com in the future?
I won’t go into great depth now because I know part of CAPEX.com’s success is due to a better mindset that says: be humble, modest, and friendly, disclose less and deliver more.
I’ll just mention a few tracking points:
• We launched new products last year; we are focusing on the same vision this year. Launch products that users can use and benefit from
• Reach exciting markets
• Have more licenses so we can give better services
• Implement new verticals for our one-stop-shop mindset