Edited by George Morrison
The BizSpark Startup of the day is Bit Flag Solutions. Started as a company in 2008 by a couple of small time investors who had an interest in making more intelligent investing decisions. With 10 years of investing experience and consulting and contracting with companies, including banks that handle a large share of stock market transactions, our ideas about how to help the average small time investor grew into Bit Flag Solutions.
Interview with Paul Whygle, CEO of Bit Flag Solutions
How do you feel being the most promising “Startup of the Day” per Microsoft?
Honored! My partners and I have worked very hard for the last 10 months to arrive where we are. To get any sort of recognition is humbling and exciting.
How would you describe your company's product and mission?
Vesticator is a product that simplifies investing decisions for the ‘Average Joe’ investor. Using industry standard formulas, Vesticator allows a user to be alerted when there is a buy or a sell signal for any stock that they are interested in. Our mission has been to focus on and target the average investor by giving them a tool that can help them make a technically based investment decision.
Where did the idea for this company come from? What was the genesis of the idea?
Before this all began, Scott Taylor (the other co-founder) and I would sit around talking stocks and investing all the time. We started digging into technical analysis and stock indicators and trying to figure out how all those smart investors know when to make the decisions they make. Both of us love crunching numbers, spotting patterns, and looking for trends, so technical analysis was a natural fit for us with exciting potential. We started trying to figure out how we could make a product for ourselves that would email us when an indicator signaled on a buy or sell condition. Our Entrepreneur genes kicked in, and from that idea a product emerged: Vesticator.
How did you fund the company? VC, Angel, Bootstrap? What is the chronology of funding?
We have been entirely self-funded. With the help of BizSpark’s toolset and licensing, we have been able to get to where we are by just the money in our wallets.
Are you currently seeking funding? If so, what kind and how much?
We intend to keep everything self-funded, so at this point, we are not currently seeking outside financial resources. But as our needs grow, we may change our strategy.
What about the BizSpark Program? What do you think? Are you going to join? Why?
We joined BizSpark several months ago. It is a fantastic program and has increased our productivity in ways that cannot be measured. With the access BizSpark provides to Microsoft Technologies, we were able to build a solid foundation on which to deliver our solution.
Describe your offering.
We make it possible for our users to participate passively in following market trends. There is no longer a need for them to analyze charts and graphs all day, which is time consuming and can be intimidating for many small-time investors. Now, a user can log into our site, select a few stocks they are interested in buying or selling, chose an indicator, and finally select a destination where the alerts can be sent.
What do you sell and how do you sell it?
We sell information. We sell a way of delivering information at times when immediate action in critical. We deliver this information through electronic communication via email and SMS messaging.
Do you have any Software IP? More specifically, is there something unique you are doing in the marketplace?
We believe our uniqueness comes from our goal to simplify things for the end user. We have been researching our competitors and have taken note of their target audience. We believe our target audience is being neglected by the current host of products in the market.
What would you describe as your “primary” market? Are there any secondary markets you service?
Our target market is small-time investors who don’t know, or don’t want to have to pay attention to, the technical analysis side of investing. They are the investors like we used to be, and in some regards, we still are; investors that don’t day trade and just want to hold a few stocks in their portfolio. They take their investing seriously and want to make smarter decisions.
Do you have a growth plan or strategy? Any plans for Internationalization?
We intend to first establish ourselves in the market. After that we hope to start expanding our product into more Web 2.0 features that allow for investors to discuss strategies using indicators of their liking. At this point, we have been so excited about all the ways we can expand Vesticator. At this point we have not considered the international market.
How many employees do you currently have? How many software developers/engineers?
We currently have three employees and one part time contractor we use. Two of us are software engineers.
Are you hiring? If so, what kinds of positions?
At this time, we do not have the capital to hire.
What technology platforms are you building on? Why?
We are leveraging the full suite of Microsoft technologies including; Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, .Net 3.5, etc. Some of the reasons we chose to leverage these technologies were: security, ease of use, increased productivity, and in the end they are just fun to play with.
Are there any customers or clients you’d like to share? References or quotes?
What were some of your previous endeavors before starting this company?
I have been a part of many projects that never saw the light of day. From every project, I took knowledge and have tried to turn it into wisdom.
Do you have any advice for young software entrepreneurs?
Starting with a business plan is extremely important, and review it every week or two. This has helped us keep focused on our target market and stay on task. That was the best advice we followed and we believe it has worked very well for us.
Where do you see opportunities today and in the future regarding the Software/Internet arenas?
With the market in the current state of uncertainty that it is in, we have been doing a great deal of analysis. Not only are these stock indicators incredibly accurate and helpful, but we believe that now is a great time to take advantage of a product like Vesticator. We believe that using technical analysis in a time like this, can remove the emotion from the decision making process. This information is certainly available outside of Vesticator, but that generally involves doing the work yourself. From experience we can tell you that watching the charts and price fluctuations day in and day out can bring strong emotions into play. Especially now, taking a passive approach to investing, by using Vesticator, can help an investor make solid investing decisions.