StockTwits: Lessons from a Thriving Twitter-Based Startup

December 8, 2011

9:44 am

Since it was founded in 2008, the financial discussion network StockTwits has attracted 150,000 users who post over 10,000 messages a day. These messages reach 40 million readers through streams licensed to CNN Money, Reuters, Yahoo! Finance, and others. Almost 200 public companies have signed up to use StockTwits’s premium version for $499 per month.

StockTwits users can talk (or post charts ) about public companies using the dollar sign and their stock symbol, like $AAPL or $GOOG. Your feed includes all the company symbols and individuals you follow, and you can also view trending topics.

The San Diego-based company caters to individual investors, hedge fund managers, and public companies (who pay for a verified account, analytics, and custom messaging). These users get their financial fix on iOS, Android, and desktop apps, and a StockTwits API is available for registered developers. Starting in December, StockTwits Direct has let companies directly publish information to their Yahoo! Finance page for $1,599 per month, with customers such as Hewlett-Packard and Yahoo! itself.

StockTwits was cofounded by Howard Lindzon, a hedge fund manager and angel investor who created the video podcast Wallstrip, which sold to CBS in 2007.

Coexisting with Twitter for 3 years, StockTwits has hit on a promising model: following not just people, but topics; and filtering out all the irrelevant tweets you might not want to read from your followers.

If other companies want to apply this model to different types of content, they’ll have to learn what different users want. StockTwits started by aggregating Twitter messages, but moved to their own platform to give users more functionality and content. Now, surprised to see experts do scheduled Q&A sessions with followers, the company is building a product to make this easier – and change the way people receive financial news:

“Users will trust information from someone with a transparent stream of messages on StockTwits who they may not even know or ever heard of over a top fund manager or famous financial pundit.  StockTwits has shifted and democratized the trust and power structure in financial media,” says COO Francis Costello.

To learn more from StockTwits, visit them at our Tech Cocktail San Diego mixer tonight.

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact

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