Don Broekelmann is the CEO of Stockcast.it, a technology startup company based in Columbia, Mo. Stockcast.it is a company that grew out of the familiar idea that a stock’s movement is influenced considerably by the thoughts and feelings of people writing about it. The company gathers and analyzes thousands of new articles every day. With this data, they are able to provide insights into what is happening — and, sometimes, what’s about to happen — in the market.
MO: How did you and your team come up with the idea for Stockcast.it?
Don: The technology we’ve developed could have a wide range of applications, but we wanted to focus on the market that could tangibly benefit from this technology. It made sense to look at how we could leverage this technology to develop a new stream of information for traders to use to make more informed decisions.
Once we started looking at the data we were collecting, we noticed very strong correlations between the sentiment for particular stocks and their stock price movements. Everyone knows that news and how people are feeling about a particular company have an impact on the stock price. The problem was that there was no good way to measure that on a large scale — and quickly enough to be relevant. We solve that problem.
MO: When did your interest in the stock market develop?
Don: My interest in finance began in college. I took several personal finance classes and realized that no matter what career path I intended to follow, I needed to know how to manage and invest my money. Investing in the stock market is a very data-intensive process, and I love sorting through data to make an informed decision. I now get to leverage a whole new layer of proprietary information to drive investment decisions.
MO: Market forecasting has proven, for many years, to be tricky. What have you done to solve this problem with Stockcast.it?
Don: There’s always been an abundance of information about the market, but it primarily revolves around the volume of various positions, or patterns in the stock price movements. We are looking at an additional stream of data that provides insight into how people actually feel about the individual components of the market. The system scans the entirety of the market and flags stocks that it identifies as having gaps between their sentiments and their prices. We’ve designed the system so the computers can do the heavy data crunching to identify opportunities, and then we deliver those opportunities to traders so they can analyze the opportunities, as opposed to trying to spot them.
MO: What is your best advice for up-and-coming investors who are trying to be successful in playing the stock market?
Don: They should take it slow and make sure they take measured risks. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can quickly get in over your head and lose large. That puts you out of the market altogether. Take your time and test your ability using a simulated trading platform before you work with your cash.
MO: What are you most proud of your team for on this journey thus far?
Don: Our team has done a great job of hiding the true complexity of the technology from the users. We have an extremely complicated technology stack that is designed to run behind the scenes and provide our partners with clear, organized, and actionable data. There is a lot of complexity that goes into creating a simple, usable graph. I am constantly amazed at the solutions the team comes up with on a daily basis.
MO: What is your advice for other entrepreneurs dipping into the financial startup realm?
Don: The financial sector can be one of the most profitable industries if you can figure out a way to add significant value. That being said, there’s a lot of competition, and it can be hard to establish your credibility — and credibility is extremely important in this market.
MO: Where do you see Stockcast.it heading in the next six months?
Don: Over the next six months, I see the team continuing to refine our systems to deliver more concise and actionable data to our users. We have some pretty exciting enhancements in the pipeline that will open up additional markets to Stockcast.it and allow us to continue to increase the value of our sentiment measure. We will also likely announce some partnerships that will help us get this technology in the hands of more traders.