Chapter #1: Hello Trading World6 min read
As a trader in my early twenties, I have encountered many “I wish *this action* existed!” moments, for which there were no products on the market. I couldn’t understand why nobody built those products (or built them right), they were such good product ideas after all! So, after a few years of semi-successful trading, on a week when I was feeling particularly burnt out from my discretionary mean-reversion intraday trading. I figured it was up to me to build the products since nobody else seemed to be up to the task. So, six years ago today I started this company with the goal of helping retail traders become profitable. I had just turned 25, was full of ideas, and naively oblivious to the problems I will be facing.
“I wish I could multiply what I earn, but kept doing the same thing”
Our first product was basically a copy-trading platform, where successful traders got rewarded for their trading signals. Not a particularly original idea, but the execution was done in a unique way (at the time anyway). I figured the scalability will be the biggest issue since I saw it in my own trading. The bigger account I was trading with, the heavier the trading decisions. So, in our platform, everybody was trading assets they were used to, using the account size they were used to, with their own broker, the trading platform of their choice, and were rewarded solely based on the quality of their signal. The quality of the signal was a fairly complex calculation. But the idea can be boiled down to providing a lot of pips in predictable market conditions = better signal.
Consistency was beating the market. Being in the top percentile of signal providers on our platform, and beating at least a set percentage of monkeys in the Monkey Test. The premise was simple. The longer you can provide what qualified for a good signal, the more rewards you were able to earn.
The platform generated overwhelming interest from traders, but as time showed, not many of them managed to be consistently profitable. We had a couple of success stories. Traders used the rewards to buy a house, pay for their dream honeymoon, or fulfill their long-term goal of visiting Wall Street in New York. But almost no traders managed to survive in the program longer than 1 year.
After we interviewed the best of them, asking what happened. The majority of responses revolved around emotions and discipline interfering in their trading success. As they progressed in the system and were rewarded more and more, they started to focus on the money rather than the quality of the setup, compromising their trading systems, and inevitably started losing. Even though we actively tried to remove this variable from their thought process, it was simply not enough.
“I wish I could remove emotions from my trading”
After several rounds of interviews with a couple of hundreds of our users, we decided to create an algorithmic trading platform. They would be able to create their own custom and unique trading strategies, all without knowing 0 code. They would be able to simply type in plain English, and we would create the algorithm automatically in the background. Users could then simply deploy their strategies to their connected broker or crypto exchange and live trade away. The platform would be asset-agnostic, broker-agnostic, we would source and clean the data for the users and give them access for a fraction of the cost. Sounds great, right? Well, it was, for a little while.
From reading the previous paragraph it is pretty clear that we simply bit off more than we could chew. We were a tiny startup of only a handful of people. It was a tremendously ambitious project, but inevitably technical challenges caught up to us. A trader from Chicago wanted us to add new data sets, a trader from Hong Kong needed 6h timeframe, another trader from South Africa had some problem with his spot crypto trade and a trader from the UK wanted Ichimoku Cloud indicator. Soon we found ourselves chasing what any individual wanted/needed, without having enough time to improve the underlying platform as a whole. In retrospect, it is easy to see that we were never going to make everyone happy this way. We learned a tonne, you can read about it here.
“I wish there was a trading platform, that actually helps me trade better”
We needed to step back and see what is actually going to improve our users’ trading results. What are the features our users really need? What is the main differentiator between our Cleo trading platform and our competition, what is our edge?
We spent over a year listening to our users’ feedback, their ideas, and observed how they use the Cleo trading platform to learn what is missing. Some comments were obvious, some were unexpected, but all allowed us to focus on what actually matters to you. And what matters to you, matters to us. And now we’re bringing it all together at cleo.finance.
Now, we are still a small startup, so we will be releasing it in waves. Firstly, we wanted to create a trading platform, that is actually and provably on the trader’s side. We asked ourselves and our most active traders: what is really important to you before you enter a market position? The answer is clear: Knowing and understanding the risk and rewards of that particular trading position. Why is this information not easily accessible on most trading platforms? (There’s an obvious reason for it.) The majority of traders then have to rely on their own excel sheets. aking MS Excel arguably the most used trading software ever.
Cleo Trading Platform: Gain control over the markets.
With cleo.finance you will be visually informed about the risks and rewards before you enter the position. The platform allows you to place several stop loss and take profit orders simultaneously, modify them as they go, and replay your trading history to learn from your past. By using our unique smart trade capabilities you can enter or exit your position when your conditions are fulfilled. Removing your emotions from your trading decision-making process. And yes, later on, we will implement copy-trading and algo-trading capabilities into the new Cleo Trading Platform, tying it all together. This is what we are excited about and cannot wait for you to see.
Now, 6 years after starting this journey, our goal remains the same. Retail traders fulfill an important role in society. And supporting them in becoming profitable remains our mission we work tirelessly and passionately towards. I am sure it won’t be smooth sailing from here on, but I can promise you we are here to stay.
The Cleo Trading Platform will be released in the second half of February to the traders on our waiting list. Sign up and help us shape the future of trading through your feedback. We can’t wait to hear your thoughts.
Kevin Grulich, CEO