Goldbaum, the financial information platform, which is celebrating its second anniversary, assists exchange traded fund players in their strategic decisions. The idea was born around 2015 in London: Valérian Branco and Marco Materazzi, two analysts from Luxembourg and Italy respectively, were thinking about a platform for collecting, aggregating and pre-analysing financial information on ETFs.
by: Marc Auxenfants
photo: [email protected]
featured: Goldbaum’s team, Aymeric Brochier, Valérian Branco and Marco Materazzi
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For years, these exchange-traded investment funds have been increasingly popular with individual and professional investors. Very often, however, there are gaps in the information available to help them with their investment strategy. This is a niche Goldbaum tackles.
At the end of 2016, a few months after the referendum on UK’s exit, Valérian Branco decided to leave the country and look for a new host country to launch this project.
“I operated my own Brexit backwards; with a return home in Luxembourg,” confides the Luxembourger.
“The concept is simple: to launch robots to search and collect financial and extra-financial data on ETFs. This is then mobilised by artificial intelligence to aggregate and analyse them. We then offer the whole thing as a self-service dashboard for customers,” says Valérian Branco.
“Thanks to our work, portfolio managers will be able to focus their energy on core business and investment strategy.”
News in SaaS mode
The online tool is offered as a service (SaaS) model, with customers using the service either remotely or with their infrastructure connected to an interface, via a monthly or annual subscription. The price depends on the type of information chosen.
“By offering all this information in a single package, we are selling time,” summarises the founder. “Thanks to our work, portfolio managers will be able to focus their energy on core business and investment strategy”.
In February 2018, Valérian Branco launched his startup, Goldbaum, with three other co-founders: Marco Materazzi, who has since joined him from London as Chief Operating Officer and is also in charge of product development; Aymeric Brochier, a software engineer and former researcher at the Grenoble Computer Science Laboratory (LIG) as Chief Technology Officer; and Yves Deschenaux, a silent investor, who stays out of the business.
Following this, the beta versions of the application were launched and tested with 200 users, mainly brokers, analysts and portfolio managers based in Paris, London, Luxembourg and Frankfurt.
At the beginning of 2019, the fintech company moved from the garage to Roeser to launch its first application. As Luxembourg’s startup ecosystem started to take an interest in fintech Goldbaum was able to benefit from Fit 4 Start, an acceleration programme initiated by the Luxembourg’s Ministry of Economy and managed by Luxinnovation. The scheme includes coaching, financing of up to 150K euros, as well as the access to offices and a network.
“The concept is simple: to launch robots to search and collect financial and extra-financial data on ETFs. We then offer the whole thing as a self-service dashboard for customers.”
Brakes on development
Goldbaum also received the European Commission’s Award of Excellence, as part of its Horizon 2020 programme. Soon after, Hub612, the Lyon-based incubator of the Caisse d’Epargne Rhône-Alpes, offered its founders the opportunity to host it. They accepted the offer and plan to locate their research and development unit there by the end of this year.
Two years since launch, the young company now employs nine people. Its platform aggregates information on 14,000 financial products, on behalf of some fifty clients.
Despite its growing success, the Fintech is struggling to move to the next level, and faces its first hurdle: attracting and retaining R&D talent in Luxembourg as the current salaries are too high for the startup.
Another obstacle is the small size of the Luxembourg’s financial market, which is the second largest in the world for investment funds. Goldbaum is primarily targeting front office operators, most of whom are based outside the Grand Duchy.
Therefore, its founders plan to establish a more sustainable presence in France from September, while continuing to run their commercial activities from the entity that will be hosted at the [email protected].