Chicago-based YCharts is an online financial data research company that helps users track markets without using clunky terminals or interfaces. YCharts also makes it easy to create charts, screens and data series for all stocks, ETFs and mutual funds traded on North American stock exchanges, using over 4,000 financial metrics and up to 30 years of historical data.
YCharts has three main components: 1.) A filter to create complex metric-driven filters to find stocks and funds that meet your criteria 2.) An Excel add-in that connects your financial models to live data and 3. ) Fundamental and technical charts that can be created in seconds to compare stocks, funds and indices.
And there are three levels of YCharts plans, which are Standard, Professional, and Enterprise. High-end plans include Excel add-in, comparison tables, aggregate industry data, comparable analysis, financial modeling, and more.
YCharts was co-founded by Shawn Carpenter, but he stepped down as CEO in April 2016 to focus on a new business. Carpenter, still an active member of the board of directors and the largest common shareholder of the company, developed the concept of YCharts while working at Google for three and a half years as part of the Revenue Intelligence team. YCharts was also co-founded by Ara Anjargolian, who currently works as a CTO playing a key role in shaping YCharts product development efforts. To help YCharts grow from a startup to a true growing company, YCharts handed over the reins to Sean Brown when the company announced him as CEO in June 2016. I interviewed him recently because I wanted to dig in and learn more about Brown’s role at YCharts and what brought him here.
Brown told me he grew up in a family of eight and moved around a lot. It taught him that change is constant and should be embraced rather than avoided.
âMy parents instilled in me early on that having well-defined goals, making specific plans to achieve those goals, and surrounding me with like-minded, hardworking, good, and fun people was a recipe for ‘winning’ in life. life, “Brown said in the interview.” I have spent over 25 years helping companies of all sizes (startups, private equity, public) take advantage of technology, especially software, transform their businesses and become or remain market leaders. My journey began after college when I quickly turned from a tech neophyte who earned a finance degree as a software engineer with the company now known as Accenture.
After earning an MBA at Stanford and spending a few years in consulting at a management consulting firm, Brown decided to join a startup in Chicago called Telution as CFO. Telution was one of the first SaaS companies and was then referred to as the Application Service Provider (ASP) space. Telution delivered a suite of applications for the telecommunications space and later the company was sold to CSG International.
After leaving CSG International, Brown became President and CEO of 7ticks, one of the fastest growing business units of Interactive Data Corporation (IDC). 7ticks has offered a leading managed network and software service for the low latency trading market. As 7ticks grew rapidly, Brown was part of the team that facilitated the sale of parent company Interactive Data to Intercontinental Exchange (owner of the NYSE) for more than $ 5 billion in 2015.
When I asked Brown what led to the decision to take the CEO role at YCharts, he said he was ready to take the first extended hiatus of his career after ICE acquired Interactive Data with plans for traveling, writing and spending time with extended family. But his hiatus ended up being shorter than expected as his network introduced him to YCharts, which was looking for a CEO to “turbo-fuel the growth of the company.”
Brown said he could immediately see that YCharts served a large and growing space and had an “incredible product, loyal and happy customers, a very talented management team and an awesome culture.” And since Brown had a lot of relevant experience to overcome the challenges and capitalize on the opportunities that presented themselves at YCharts, this was a perfect fit. Brown and his wife decided travel plans could wait.
Brown’s role at YCharts is to set long-term goals and objectives and create well-aligned game plans that are executed and changed. Plus, Brown makes sure the company celebrates big and small wins. And he is heavily involved in strengthening the corporate culture and hiring new employees. âWe are a small company and we are very selective in hiring new team members. I interview every potential new recruit. My favorite part of my day is when I meet directly with our prospects or customers, because I am especially happy to see how we are contributing to their success, âadded Brown.
The first version of YCharts provided investors with a quick way to view multiple financial metrics for a few thousand stocks. A few years later, YCharts released the first version of the professional-level software and immediately competed with industry leaders.
Over the past 6 months, YCharts has achieved several key milestones:
1.) Cross the threshold of 3,000 customers
2.) On average nearly a million visits to the product per month
3.) To be named in the top 25% of Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies
4.) Presentation alternative data offering called YData, which helps stock traders better predict market movements
5.) Launch of a market-leading offering for external mutual fund sales forces
6.) Addition cryptocurrency data to its platform to help clients understand and stay on top of crypto investing options
7.) Announce a 3-year contract with Dynasty Financial Partners
When I asked Brown if he could share customer stories, he told me that one of his favorites was about a first customer who started using the Professional product shortly after its launch in 2012. It s ‘was a young company run by former Capital IQ users who were looking for an affordable alternative. And this business grew rapidly over the next couple of years using YCharts. However, they finally thought it was time to switch back to Capital IQ. This change was short lived as they quickly returned to YCharts due to its intuitive platform design, superior customer service, and responsiveness.
Another client success story that Brown shared was the partnership with Dynasty Financial Partners. Dynasty is known for providing services that help advisors break away from communications agencies and go into business as independent RIA companies.
âNavigating the sea of ââtechnologies available to create a complete, cost-effective stack is a difficult task,â Brown explained. âSeveral of Dynasty’s early companies independently found YCharts to be an invaluable tool in maintaining their investment strategies and providing the same high level of portfolio management that their clients expected. Dynasty, reinforcing its commitment to supporting its customers, has made an investment with us to provide YCharts Affiliate Customers. Since then, Dynasty has doubled the size of its customer base and continues to ensure that each of its customers has access to YCharts.
YCharts has raised $ 14.5 million in funding since the company launched in 2009. The company’s investors include Morningstar, Hyde Park Angels, Reed Elsevier, I2A and several others. YCharts has had a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 50% since 2014. And the company has moved closer to positive cash flow.
Brown told me that the company saves its 3,000 customers, on average, almost half a day a week, and that they tend to see a six-fold return on their investment for a YCharts subscription. âI’m especially excited when our customers, through positive word of mouth, send new customers to us. We don’t spend that much on marketing for YCharts, so it’s incredibly rewarding when our clients are marketing for us, âBrown told me.
When I asked Brown what some of the company’s future goals were, he told me that YCharts plans to keep growing fast. And going forward, the company will place a strong emphasis on “doing the right things to ensure that our product and operations are well configured to serve our rapidly growing customer base.”
“We believe that our growth will come from the continued capture of market share in current target markets (wealth advisers and retail investors), as well as our expansion into new segments and new levels of clients,” concluded Brown.