Bux: 'Do what you are good at and outsource the rest'

"Start small, take it easy with levers and practice for a while with fake money if you have no experience with shares." Nick Bortot , founder of BUX, can help everyone deal with the exchange. Three years ago, the company won the Accenture Innovation Awards (AIA) in the Financial Services theme

"Start small, take it easy with levers and practice for a while with fake money if you have no experience with shares." Nick Bortot , founder of BUX, can help everyone deal with the exchange.

Three years ago, the company won the Accenture Innovation Awards (AIA) in the Financial Services theme. Since the time of participation in the AIA of 2015, the number of BUX users has in any case shown a marked increase: from 250, 000 to 1.5 million. What is the situation at BUX now?

How would you describe BUX in one tweet to someone who is still unfamiliar with it? "BUX is an app that makes it very easy, cheap and fun to get to the stock market and to master the trade."

If you compare BUX with when you participated in the Accenture Innovation Awards, what differences and similarities do you see?
"The difference is mainly in the growth we have made since then, but we have remained the same as a company and its culture. Never has one of my employees offered his resignation. "

How did the idea for this app come about? "BUX originated from the idea that there are many people who find the fair interesting and want to do something with it, but have no knowledge of it. During my twelve and a half years at Binck, I got questions like 'how does that work, buy a share?' or 'What can I do with my savings now that interest rates are very low?' This group turned out to be very large in relation to the people who actually act on the stock exchange. I took this opportunity - also to spread my own fascination with the fair. "

Who belongs to the BUX target group?
"Anyone who would like to know more about the fair. This does not necessarily have to make money, but just to learn and understand it. The fair itself seems cold and businesslike, but it is a reflection of what is happening in the world, such as in politics or meteorology. If it is very cold, the gas prices go up, which drives companies at a cost, and that is reflected in the stock market. "

So the app will take you into the learning process?
"Certainly, it is precisely the learning effect. Through the app you can read lots of appealing articles, for example about super investor Warren Buffett, de Brexit and more. Via the Bux app you have access to the community, where you can form groups with friends and follow people, similar to Twitter and Instagram. "

Does that community make the app so interesting?
"It is a combination of the simplicity and ease of use of the app and the educational information. These are our distinctive qualities. Our rule of thumb is that you have to be able to operate the app with one thumb across the canal. "

How is the business model built?
"If you work with fake money, you pay fake commission. We do not deserve anything, but you learn to understand what committee means. In real life we ​​earn on the commission: a percentage of the size of the transaction, with a minimum of 25 cents. Other revenues for us are on the market with a lever. It means that if you trade with borrowed money, you pay interest on the amount you borrow. "

What is the relationship between serious and funBUX staff now?
"There are 130, 000 people who have an account with real money. This is around 8.5% of users and this means an increase of 3.5% in the last three years. This number is now reasonably stable. Many people see it as an experiment and we are dealing with minors who are not allowed to work with real money. So it's not that easy to get more paying users. But it has risen over the years. "

How do you respond to this?
"We now have one app and that is why a very unique brand has arisen, which is not customary in the financial world. Soon we will therefore launch two new apps under the same brand. It is possible that you can get started with the current app and find it all too fast. Then you can start using the new apps soon. "

What are these new apps going to offer?
"The current app is about short-term trading. You should not do that with money that you need elsewhere. We come up with a real equity app and furthermore we jump into the current question with a cryptocurrency app. "

Does BUX have competitors and what makes people choose BUX?
"Nobody does exactly what we do. Investing continues to invest, so those who want to start with five thousand euros make a choice. This means that all providers of investment products are in fact competitors. Our added value lies in the packaging: the informative and user-friendly app and that you can trade with us from a quarter. With a large bank, you will soon pay four to five euros per transaction, so it is useless to trade small amounts. Finally, we speak the language of the user in the app and in our articles. "

Three years ago BUX was only active in the Netherlands and England. Did you expect and anticipate this expansion to all of Europe?
"Yes, the international roll-out of our company is what I had in mind from the start. For the time being, our focus is still on Europe, who knows, maybe we will go outside Europe again. "

What is the biggest challenge?
"Attracting good developers for mobile and also legislation. That changes constantly. We are not very big so we do not have an army of lawyers, but we have to comply with the legislation. "

Which trends do you see in the financial sector?
"Technically there is already a lot, but people do not understand it anymore because the use has become so complicated. So actually the trend is no longer to 'build' all kinds of things, but the trend is precisely to make things easier. Such an example is Tikkie: with this I send you my IBAN number very easily. The big challenge is to get all that complicated information back to one app with a few buttons. We also do this at BUX. "

What is the most valuable result of your participation in the Accenture Innovation Awards? "There are a lot of competitions in start-up country, but the Blue Tulip of the AIA is unique as you can not win without effort. It was an honor and confirmation for their efforts for the team. The recognition I obtained has the most value for me. "

What advice do you have for the participants of the 2018 edition?
"Focus on what you are good at and outsource the rest. This has been important for our company. In addition, look internationally at once and do not be afraid to bring investors on board. Many start-ups postpone this because they do not want to give away shares, but investors can speed up your growth and expand your network. "

*) This is an article in the series of the Accenture Innovation Awards that I wrote in collaboration with Eline van Vliet .