LeapRate Exclusive… LeapRate recently sat down with Mr. Matus Bajko, CEO of Bel air s.r.o., owners of the social trading network FX Junction. This is the second time we sat down with Matus, this time for a free-flowing discussion on several topics, such as what it takes to run FX Junction and where the future lies.
LR: Hello Matus, good to have you again – you’re becoming a regular on LeapRate.
Matus: Thank you, I appreciate the vote of confidence in what we are doing and in social trading in general.
LR: Tell us what you have been up to at FX Junction since our last meeting.
Matus: Sure. Earlier this year we had some larger developments on FX Junction itself – we for instance released a new design for the website to make it a pleasant experience for our members as well as tried to simplify as much as possible the user interface to make it as intuitive as possible.
We also released support for crypto currency payments which our members were requesting. More recently we had a couple of large projects for our White Label B2B clients. As you might now, B2B is a large segment for us. And every client being unique, they often require specific developments such as new payment gateways, custom client onboarding process etc. Last but not least we hired a new support person to better serve our members and B2B customers.
LR: Can you explain more about your B2B offers and who your customers are?
Matus: Our main B2B offer is the White Label solution. What we offer is a managed platform for our clients, with the same functionality as is available on FX Junction. Of course this White Label platform is deployed on the customer’s custom domain, with their design and custom workflow in order to best integrate into their existing ecosystem. In essence it allows existing brokers, forex education sites and other established or new ventures to launch their own social trading platform within a couple of weeks. Everything is fully managed and handled by our team from the technical perspective leaving the client to focus on growing their business.
Another B2B offer which we are currently launching is an API for our service. This will allow brokers and/ or fintech companies to integrate our services – mainly the AutoCopy functionality and performance statistics computation – into their own applications.
LR: That’s interesting, certainly a lot on your plate.
Matus: It is – between our own and our B2B clients’ projects there’s always plenty to do. We are currently looking to expand our team to accommodate the workload as well as to promote our services by marketing on social media and other. Since we have part of our team based in India, we would also like to focus on growing that market for instance. All this requires a budget and being a relatively smaller player compared to some of our competitors it is not always easy. We consider ourselves a technology company and love to dedicate our efforts in building the best product we can but of course the marketing side is also, if not more so, crucial.
LR: How are you financing your venture? Bel air is still a private company, correct?
Matus: Yes, it is a privately held company with shares held by me and my business partner. The financing has come from our own sources as well as we reinvested all earnings into growing FX Junction. Recently however we came to the conclusion that in order to kick into a higher gear and further grow the platform, we need to start looking into an outside form of investment. If you allow a little bit of shameless self-promotion, then if any of your readers are interested in discussing possible partnership with us, they can contact me directly on [email protected].
LR: Alright, so tell us more about what it takes to run your business. What are the greatest challenges?
Matus: I would say that the biggest challenge of this business is the global and quasi non-stop nature of the forex market. Our company is headquartered in Slovakia, my business partner is based in Switzerland and some of our team members are based in India. Add to that the fact that our B2B customers are scattered around the world – not to mention our members on FX Junction – and you have a perfect recipe for a 24/7 activity. And then when the Forex markets close for the weekend, we need to deploy our developments etc., so as not to disrupt our members during the forex hours. It is a challenging but equally very exciting business to be in and as a born entrepreneur, I couldn’t ask for more (laughs).
LR: Now, there’s one more question which I wanted to ask you – you’re in the social trading business. There have been many news about social networks for all the wrong reasons – such as the infamous fake news, personal data leaks etc. Are you in any way impacted by this?
Matus: Yes and no. On one hand, we live in a world which is dominated by the social media, polarization of views etc. We do monitor the public conversation on our platform but this is mainly to the extent of removing posts which are breaching our internal policies – such as unwarranted spamming, defamatory language etc. Here we are trying to be as reactive as possible and take action immediately. This has on occasion resulted in banning of some of the most offending members. On the other hand, with 27.5 thousand members that we have on FX Junction we – fortunately or unfortunately – don’t move the needle as much as the mainstream social media sites.
Also being focused on trading, most of our member discussion revolve around these topics which I guess don’t generate as much polemic as the other often reported social networks issues. And we have one rule which we would never breach, which is we don’t monetize our members’ data with any third parties.
LR: Great, thank you very much for your time as always and good luck with your future ventures.
Matus: Thank you and thank you for this opportunity to talk about our business.