Shareclarity bringing gaming geekery to market analysis
By Nikki Mandow
March 5 (BusinessDesk) - Shareclarity managing director Daniel Kieser gets up at 3.47am. Not 3.45am, 4am, or even a more sleep-enhancing 6am.
His alarm goes off at 3.47am.
It may be a signal of workaholic tendencies. Or enthusiasm for what he does. Or maybe the founder and boss of the online equities research firm just likes to do things a bit differently.
Like launching an augmented reality app which allows stock market investors and traders who happen to be wandering past a Kathmandu or Briscoes store, for example, to open up the Shareclarity app, point their smartphone at the shop sign, and immediately pull up market analysis and data about the listed company.
As one does.
Or like bringing out a voice recognition app which allows you to mutter “fish stocks” into your phone and end up not with a recipe for bouillabaisse, but everything you wanted to know about Sanford Ltd.
Shareclarity has just introduced both these apps to its customers, the majority of whom would be over-60s white guys.
Essential tool or crazy waste of time?
Kieser accepts only about 20-30 percent of Shareclarity clients would be in a demographic likely to use the new apps. But he doesn’t care.
“The older generation go ‘that’s weird’, the young go ‘that’s real cool’.”
"Equity research is not blowing the lights out in terms in coolness,” Kieser says, so the apps are a chance to establish a point of difference for the company.
“What I keep saying to the board and myself is that we want to be best-in-class with everything we do.
“It makes us feel like a cool company in a dull industry. People see you as a pioneering organisation, and they want to talk to you more.”
Kieser swears that the new augmented reality and microphone apps cost only $12,000 to develop and it took less than two months.
Kieser was born in South Africa, moved to New Zealand as a teenager and started his work life as a software engineer. He changed track to share analysis after turning down a software engineering job with Dutch banking group ABN Amro.
“I didn't have a tweed jacket, monobrow or food all over my clothes. There were no windows and it smelled like a boys’ room. I said ‘This isn’t me’.”
From equities research, Kieser moved onto working on carbon pricing, at a time when only a few people were involved in the field. He helped set up a carbon trading fund for Singapore-based Sindicatum, then joined forces with a friend to form Asia Renewables, a based company which owned and operated renewable power plants.
When the 2012-2013 European banking crisis kicked in, Asia Renewables fell over.
“We were chasing too many power plants and funding. We lost everything. I realised things in the global markets were in state of flux. I needed to come to a country I knew, and de-risk myself completely from the GFC.”
Kieser ended up as a business analyst at electricity lines company Vector, but a couple of years later decided it was time to be an entrepreneur again.
He’d been pondering the concept of an online equity research company and founded Shareclarity in 2014.
It took two years, and three rounds of capital raising to develop the software and bring the company to market. Shareholders include Stephen Tindall’s K1W1 venture capital fund, investor and commentator Shamubeel Eaqub, and former Citigroup director Mark Benseman.
Shareclarity now employs five analysts, including Carolyn Holmes, the former director of equity research for Morningstar Australasia in Sydney. There are also two software engineers, neither of whom has a nerdy monobrow or food on their shirt.
The company covers 280 companies, 85 on the NZX, 20 in Hong Kong, and the rest in Australia. Kieser would like to get to 350 within the next 12 months.
Meanwhile, Shareclarity has 5,000 customers, Kieser says, the largest being broking firm First NZ Capital. The company also has partnerships with the stock exchange and the NZ Shareholders' Association.
Next up, he is pondering introducing an 'Easter egg' or two into his software. Not the chocolate variety, apparently, but the sort of secret feature or hidden message that software developers sneak into games as an inside joke. Imagine going into the worst performing stock on the market and a little dog pops up and scratches off some fleas.
“It’s non-productive, it doesn’t change anything. But Shareclarity’s target market is predominantly males; young at heart. And this is a little bit of something that is cool.”
Anyway, what else are you going to be doing at 3.47am?