[Tech30] Algo trading curbing the stock trader in you? Streak makes it easy for you
For those who don’t know how to code, the Bengaluru-based startup allows you to create your own trading algorithm based using plain simple English.
Stock market investments have never been for the faint-hearted. If uncertain returns and the idea of making or losing millions in a matter of minutes was not tough, being outsmarted by a machine is certainly difficult to take in. That is exactly what traders and investors have been facing since algorithmic trading entered India in 2009.
Algo trading, as it is popularly known, allows one to program systems to initiate trades based on decided conditions. Large orders can be executed in nanoseconds and the actual trade involves little or no manual intervention once the programs are written. Now, not many can write algorithms, and thus algo trading excludes small traders and retail investors.
Enter, Streaks. The startup was launched in early 2017 with a beta version, and became operational in August.
It is also one of this year’s Tech30, helping create trading algorithms, even if you don’t know how to write code. Once you set up an account, the platform allows one to “write” algorithms using plain English commands and then executes trades based on the set instructions.
It also offers pre-defined algorithms that alert an investor in case a stock breaks a pattern.
Says co-founder Harsha Manohar, “Stock traders are always on a constant monitoring mode – they remain glued to their trading screens, sometimes on multiple screens. But with Streak, traders can create algorithms to generate trading alerts for buying and selling stocks without the need for coding.”
The platform also allows traders and customers to check the profitability of the trade. It has also launched features tracking NSE futures and currencies.
Using the Streak platform, a trader can create an algorithm using plain English language. He needs to fill in various parameters and indicators like stop loss, target profit percentage, stocks to be traded, and an algorithm is created in a few minutes. Once the algorithm is created, traders get actionable alerts. Streak has apps for Android and iOS, as well as a web portal.
The startup has a subscription model, and in a short duration has become cash flow positive. It has more than a lakh registered users and traders who have run over six million backtests on Streak. Using backtests, a trader can simulate a trading situation using historical data. It helps test a planned trading strategy, before actually putting any money on it. The total trade turnover on the platform has crossed Rs 850 crore.
Subscription fees range between Rs 500 and Rs 1,400 per month. In the basic subscription model, the startup offers 200 backtests along with 25 live algorithms. In the Rs 900 subscription package, the startup offers 500 backtests and 50 live algorithms, while the Rs 1,400 subscription package offers 1,000 backtests along with 100 live algorithms and a 30-minute call with experts.
Streaks co-founders Harsha Manohar, Vipul Divyanshu and Jayalakshmi Manohar have been working together for more than six years now.
While Jayalakshmi and Vipul were classmates in engineering college, Harsha was a manager at the college’s incubation centre. After their graduation in 2014, both Jayalakshmi and Vipul took up jobs with Tesco and in early 2015, the three started virtual dressing room app TrialKart together.
TrialKart was acquihired within six months of operations by online marketplace Voonik in August 2015 and the co-founders began working on the idea of Streak soon after.
At Streak, Harsha is the CEO, Vipul the CTO and Jaya is the CPO. The company has received a funding of Rs 2.25 crore from Rainmatter, Zerodha’s startup fund and incubator.
In August last year, the Finance Ministry stressed on necessary safeguards to prevent disruption of the equity market, and media reports quote Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg as saying that “algorithmic trading gives ‘unequal access’ to institutional investors over their retail counterparts as they have access to speed and co-location”.
Having taken stock of the situation already, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) had, in April this year, asked stock exchanges to introduce ‘managed co-location services’ to facilitate small- and medium-sized trading members. Managed co-location services refer to spaces provided to vendors in close proximity to the bourses, along with technical know-how and other expertise.
Competition and challenge
Streak competes with Quantopian and Amibroker. Gururgram-based Kuants is another startup that comes close to what Streak does in algo-trading.
The main challenge the startup faced was getting feedback from customers. Harsha says, “As our product and concept is very new, there was a challenge to make people understand the product. But, gradually, we overcame this hurdle by making our product very standardised.”
The startup plans to garner more than one million customers by March 2020, and is targeting a revenue of Rs 10 crore. It plans to soon also launch features to track stocks and commodities traded on BSE and MCX, respectively.