Francis Costello is the chief operating officer of StockTwits. With more than 15 years experience managing and scaling emerging businesses, Costello brings a unique mix of digital media and technology expertise that span various stages of company development and functional areas.
With offices in San Diego and New York, StockTwits is the only social media platform for the investor community to share real-time information and ideas, discover relevant content, and connect with a global network of financial influencers. It provides a specialized environment created specifically for investors where users can customize information and network based on interests and investments, and tap into instant financial news and reactions to market trends. StockTwits was named “One of the Best Websites, 2010” by Time Magazine, and was listed as one of the “10 Most Innovative Companies on the Web” by Fast Company.
MO: What’s the best part about working for StockTwits?
Francis: StockTwits is the type of company that’s “moving” 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so we never run out of new things to do or new challenges and opportunities to take. As the COO of StockTwits, I’m able to work in multiple capacities throughout the company, which has given me the opportunity to meet and interact with some of the most interesting and intelligent people, both internally and externally. I believe there is a wealth of opportunities for both the company, and the people that we hire, to prosper and grow.
MO: Do you think that there has been a trend in people shying away from the stock market in the current economic climate or are individuals still trading but trying to make more educated choices?
Francis: For many investors, finding new and trusted sources to assist in making investment decisions was the first step in getting back into the game after the peak of the economic downturn (2008). This was around the time StockTwits came into the foreground, offering investors a platform to learn, share, and contribute information and news about stocks. Today, we have over 150,000 registered users and our message streams reach over 40 million users through our distribution network, so I would agree that investors are making more educated investing decision now than they were prior to the turn in the markets.
MO: StocktwitsStockTwits has garnered a lot of praise and recognition. What factors do you think has contributed to it’sits success so far?
Francis: StockTwits is a very unique company in that we have built and provide a very powerful financial communications platform to share and exchange news and information with other investors, but also a set of products for public companies to expand the reach and quality of their investor communications efforts.
Most of the media coverage and attention we have received over the past six months has been centered around StockTwits Investor Communications Solutions, which allow companies to take control and manage their presence on the StockTwits platform and top online distribution outlets. These offerings are a “first” in the financial space and have successfully streamlined workflow for our customers, which are part of what has led to the accolades we have garnered, and continue to receive.
MO: How challenging has it been to expand overseas or has it been a fairly straightforward process?
Francis: As we expand our services to include exchanges outside of the US, choosing the best distribution partner(s) is probably one of the most difficult aspects of the process since we want to make sure we are able to partner with the best and most relevant media outlets to carry the StockTwits message stream.
We recently (November 2011) expanded our services to include companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX). Of course, we needed to ensure that we had a media distribution partner before we could execute this, so we developed a partnership with The Globe and Mail, the largest and most widely read daily publication in Canada, and added them to the StockTwits Distribution Network. By choosing the proper distribution partners, we’re able to ensure the best exposure and quality of content for our users and customers.
MO: What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for StockTwits in 2012?
Francis: As StockTwits has grown over the past three years, our service and product offerings, for individual investors and public companies, have grown rapidly alongside as we continue to open new channels for the investing community to share, create and distribute ideas, news and information.
Literally each day at StockTwits, new ideas for products, services and other offerings are presented and evaluated by our team. In the past six months alone, StockTwits has successfully added tools and distribution channels for users on our platform, launched two products for public companies to manage and distribute their investor communications information in ways never seen before, and entered into the international market.
The ability of our company, with a relatively small team, to produce such high-quality work in such short periods of time is very exciting and has brought Stocktwits to where we’re at now. I think we’ll see that play out again in 2012 and beyond as the company continues to grow and succeed.
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