founder

Founder Profile: The Company Robinhood Wishes Wouldn’t Be Built

Summary

We’ve all heard of Robinhood upending the brokerage market with no fees and hundreds of millions in VC dollars. But another entrant is coming to market called BluMartini and with a pre-registered list of over 300K potential customers we think this is a team to keep an eye on.

BluMartini is taking a more measured approach to the traditional hemorrhaging of VC dollars to try and take its share of the market and it seems to make a good deal of sense. With their combination of product differentiators and unique backgrounds, this team seems poised to offer something Robinhood can’t.

Coke and Pepsi, Pizza Hut and Dominoes. Apparently we have a new rivalry on the block. This time in the brokerage space. Really exciting stuff.

Check out our discussion with the team making it happen below.
Chris Lustrino

Brian, how did the idea for BluMartini come to be and why are you the right founding team to build this?

Brian Williams

The idea for BluMartini emerged from the trading group I founded, and from the trading community itself. There is an overwhelming lack of trust and ability in the mobile industry and we aim to counter that with our approach.

Between Andree and I we have over 35 years of trading experience, and our overall team has experience creating some of the largest brands in existence today. Andree has a masters in electrical engineering, studied management science, and is a Stanford alum. I am a serial entrepreneur with a successful exit under my belt with extensive experience in business development and product.

Chris Lustrino

The question I am sure you get asked constantly, how is BluMartini going to be differentiated from Robinhood?

Brian Williams

We are indeed compared to Robinhood on a daily basis. They have a great platform with some cool features but the fact remains: 58% of our current pre-registrant list has indicated they are coming from Robinhood.

We have a mobile-only focus and will not be going to a web-based platform. From Day 1 we have developed our backend infrastructure with large, heavy use, in mind to ensure a reliable platform.

On the business side we have a different vision of what a brokerage should be. Times have changed. The industry has changed. So too should the brokerage. We believe that a brokerage should not be created with a focus on how much money they can raise, but with how much help they can give their customers.

The goal as the growth occurs should not be on how many new services they can create for their customers to sell to them, but how the business can take advantage of existing opportunities, and create new ones, that will make them profitable without digging into their customers pockets. This is where our B2B, and other verticals, become important to us.

Chris Lustrino

Can you talk more about your B2B white-label offering and how that came to be?

Brian Williams

Our B2B is not one that we discuss fine details about as it will give competition further ideas. We can however say we have the ability to reach our target of $1.5M monthly recurring revenues by the end of our first year.

This idea was born from our strategy to create a long lasting, viable business, that supports the trading community and investors alike.

Chris Lustrino

Do you see this B2B side of the business being one that grows and you continue to expand to more partnerships with?

Brian Williams

The B2B focus is extremely important to us and that is evident of our planned first hires. A large portion of that is going to our sales executive who will be focusing solely on securing more contracts while I focus on securing more partnerships that will further this effort.

Chris Lustrino

You have over 300K on your waitlist. What will make your product sticky once it is live to retain these individuals?

Brian Williams

Having 350K+ on our waitlist now is one thing, but you are correct in the critical point of continued traction and use of our platform. The desire for something new and better brings the community to us, the robust and reliable platform will keep them.

Our real-time guided experience which has been developed out for over a year is made up of various AI and machine learning components that truly gives our customers a leg up on the competition. It is the cornerstone of our features and another reason the community will stay with us.

We also have some pretty cool things lining up in the way of TV shows and entertainment items that make the BluMartini brand a standout amongst the competition.

We have a series of rollouts planned as we continue along that brings value to our users. Continued growth and industry defining visions is our glue that makes us sticky.

Chris Lustrino

What phase of development of the product are you in and how will you onboard customers in an orderly fashion so as not to have heavy loads of breakage?

Brian Williams

We are entering into our final stages of development now. We have a dual focus on the B2C platform as well as the B2B vertical. Our backend is built out to handle large loads and we have a stepped rollout in place to bring users on.

One of our main focuses with the platform is ensuring that we have continued uptime as failures in the past from competition is what has left the doors open for us. We do not want to repeat any of those mistakes made by others.

Chris Lustrino

What will you do with the funds being raised and what end points do you hope to prove with this raise in order to acquire additional capital?

Brian Williams

With our minimum raise target of $250K we will produce the B2B first, draw revenues and become profitable within the first 4 months. From there we take our key metrics to the numerous VC firms that we have relationships with to work on the Series A terms.

When we hit our maximum target of $1M we will bring in our first hires. We have our CTO ready who is a former EA Sports and AMD senior engineer. Our sales executive will also be brought on the team to focus on growing the B2B revenues.

Additionally, we have an aggressive marketing campaign that a portion of the raise will be focused on to continue growing the excitement behind our brand.

Per usual there is also the legal fees, general business expenses, and ongoing development that will have portions of the raise dedicated to them as well.

 

A more comprehensive breakdown can be found on our Wefunder profile.

Chris Lustrino

What challenges are you seeing in the early days of being a B2B and B2C player and how are you managing these?

Brian Williams

As with any startup being financially responsible is the key to success. Maximizing what we have to get the most value is how we have planned our success. By bringing in our various executives in the first round of hires each side can operate independently and efficiently to grow together.

Chris Lustrino

What will the team structure look like once you begin to scale the business?

Brian Williams

As we continue to grow I will remain focused on business development and creating more value adding partnerships that grow our brand. Andree will have the COO responsibility on his plate to ensure the organization is operating efficiently as well as positioning the other executive members in the right places.

As we scale operations further our engineering team, as well as sales teams, will be the first to grow as those positions will reduce the most expense and increase revenues the most.

Chris Lustrino

Have you started to think about the potential for profitability with a business like this. I know Robinhood is burning through millions trying to acquire customers. Do you see customer acquisition as your cost challenge too or are you going about things differently?

Brian Williams

The first step in the creation of BluMartini was twofold. First, we wanted to ensure the technologies could be created in a way that is sustainable and scalable. Secondly, we needed to make certain that the business was not one that would rely upon raising into Series D and beyond while trying to figure out a path to profitability along the way.

Through this approach we have found various partnerships from the service side to the marketing side. We receive our trade execution free-of-cost, account creation free-of-cost, live data that is free, and have created our internal platform processes for a fraction of the cost of large brokerages.

Our marketing partnerships and agreements have us reaching 300M+ worldwide viewers. The BloombergTV show is a massive portion of this, but without those numbers we have deals in place to have us reach 900K+ unique monthly visitors through various global brands and advocates.

The aim is to keep CAC low, churn low, burn low, and conversions high. Decrease costs associated with exposure and increase our revenues with additional features.

Chris Lustrino

As you think about the business 5 years from now where do you see it?

Brian Williams

5 years from now our goal is to have a full-fledged brokerage that is the household name and the go-to for all skill levels of investors and traders. This would entail us having our IPO process began and being very profitable.

We all know that in this industry things move extremely quick and new technologies are acquired left and right which is something we are open to as well.

Our main focus, however, is to take this the long road and enjoy growing the brand for years to come and our roadmap to success is laid out to reflect that.

With a large potential user base in place, partnerships in the B2B space ready to go and the technology progressing, we think this can be an extremely interesting entry point into a hot category for investors.

Stay tuned for our more in-depth coverage of BluMartini coming soon.

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About: Chris Lustrino

A Boston College Eagle for life, on a mission to democratize startup investing for all people at KingsCrowd, with a passion for Fintech, investing, social impact, doing well and doing good, and an avid runner, cyclist and writer.

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