We all love the stock market, ok maybe that emotion resonates more with Mumbaikars. But nevertheless, I am strong believer that everybody should know about the markets, be able to read the signs, get in and out of it at their wish and make some decent money for all the efforts. But the biggest barrier to enter the stock market is lack of knowledge, one may have the money, but the terminologies that the entity uses is always baffling. Sensex, Nifty, Square off, Bull, Bear – are all extremely important words in the stock market context – but are also Greek for those who have nothing to do with this space.
We have lots of people to help us like financial advisors, stock brokers – the last few years have seen a boom in service providers who claim to help demystify the space. While all of them have made things simpler for many people, there is a lot that can still be done. And this is the opportunity that startup MarketScientist is tapping into. MarketScientist teaches various aspects of online trading, the tools, the techniques and the terms through online videos, tutorials, webinars and so on.
Founded by Prateek Singh, MarketScientist happened because Prateek had experienced the value of knowledge sharing himself. “I came across a web service called “Duo lingo” which teaches you a new language in a game-style interface. Then I discovered another web service called “Code Academy” that teaches people to do basic computer coding. The impact of these online services on my thinking was two-fold. Besides learning a new language and coding from these websites, I was also inspired by the fact that these were ‘free’ services and were teaching people something useful in a very exciting way,” explains Prateek. Before MarketScientist, Prateek had already been trading in the stock market full time for almost 9 years, and after coming across these websites the idea to teach the fundamentals of trading / investing to others for free took birth. “I started trading when I was 16 years of age. I am self taught at trading the market and have been involved in guiding others on trading related websites,” says Prateek.
Prateek says trading is a scientific art and hence the word ‘scientist’ in its name. “Stock Market trading is essentially a skill based battle of wits against unseen investors in which one needs to match his / her financial risk management parameters against identifiable deviations in stock prices. To maximise profitable opportunities and keep loss trades to a minimum, we must arrive at investment decisions scientifically by analysing statistical data represented on a chart in the form of candle-sticks. MarketScientist brings a bit of both on a platter for its members. MarketScientist is so named because it is a quantifiable way to profit from the market, a very scientific way,” explains Prateek. They also follow a method, called Newton Method, because Prateek says he sees a lot of similarities between the movement of stock prices and Newton’s laws of motion.
Most members at MarketScientist have full time jobs and the lean 5 member team takes care of technology/website development, creating MarketScientist TV episodes and one person answers to all questions, enquiries they get. The site currently offers a free course – the Apprentice Course and has many free videos on the site for beginners to learn from. They conduct paid webinars for the Newton Method, where participants also receive course materials and have a monthly program where customers are taught the Newton Method and given live support to help them trade.
While there are many voice based services that provide help on stock markets, Prateek says they are no websites that offer the detailing and interactivity that they offer. “We can assist a person in learning a quantitatively driven system to profit from the market,” he says. At this point, MarketScientist aims to keep most of its services free of cost, at the same time they are also providing premium solutions for subscribers.The site also has plans to open offline centres in major cities by next year. Currently they have a subscriber base of 350 subscribers and most customer acquisition has been through word of mouth. “There is no better advertising than a friend telling another, what he has achieved with the help of MarketScientist. For us, improving content and providing value has worked pretty well so far. Initially, we did however run banner ads for one month on one trading related website,” says Prateek.
The main challenge Prateek has faced in his business is to convince people that stock market trading can be a profession. “There are many misconceptions that plague stock market trading. Firstly that trading on the stock market is a form of gambling. Second is lack of training. Budding investors and traders are not aware that trading as a skill needs to be perfected with patience, training and experience,” he says. And through MarketScientist, Prateek wants to reassure and motivate others by talking about the challenges he had faced himself and how he overcame those.
From providing financial literacy to plans of partnering with a TV channel, Prateek says there are still many things that remain to be done. Expansion of the MarketScientist TV video library, mobile apps and software development that can help managing and taking decisions related to the stock market are on cards. He also has plans to conduct events in major cities across the country next year.