TradeHero: Probably One of the Best Startup Ideas in Singapore

Willis Wee
5:40 pm on Nov 10, 2012


Good startup ideas aren’t so easy to come by in Singapore. So here’s one I really like: it’s called TradeHero, a mobile app that allows users to trade virtual money based on real-world stock market data. But this isn’t just another simulated stock market game; read on.

In some ways, OK, it’s a game. But this game brings in loads of entertainment and money-making opportunities. Co-founders Dinesh Bhatia and Dominic Morris say that monetization of TradeHero comes naturally with the game. They call it monetizing “information and reputation.” How it works is that folks will trade stocks based on real-world data. The greater return on investment (ROI) you bring in, the more reputable you will be.


When you’ve got a good reputation, your every buy and sell signal or comment becomes valuable, and it costs $1.99 per month for another TradeHero user to follow your trade movement. Users who subscribe to your feed will get in-app push messages on every trade you make. That $1.99 will be shared 50:50 between you and TradeHero after Apple’s 30 percent cut. So in absolute dollars, you receive about $0.70 for every user who subscribes to your trade movements.

So why the hell would people pay? Simple. In trading, information is key, especially information from someone who has consistently done well in the market. This information is also highly relevant because the ROI made on TradeHero is based on real-world stock data. So theoretically, if the trades are executed in real-world markets, he/she should make real money too. At just $1.99 per month, the information you get from TradeHero is an extremely good value for the money.

The revenue math looks great for the founders too. If 50,000 follows were generated among TradeHero users, the startup could make a healthy $35,000 a month in revenue. Reputable TradeHero users can also earn while they trade. Note that this is just one of the many value-added services which TradeHero could potentially offer.



TradeHero is a mobile-only virtual trading platform because, according to co-founder Dinesh, that’s the best way to monetize intention. He explained:

Everything is on mobile. Because you get the in-app notification instantly. With the app store you can actually monetize intention straight away. You can’t monetize intention straight away on the web. You got to go through several steps including taking out your wallet, pulling out your credit card, entering your name, credit number, CCV number, expiry date, and maybe you made an error and by that time you’ve lost intention.

In contrast, using in-app payments is faster and more direct – all you need is just your App Store password to making an actual payment. Mobile allows payments to be made swiftly while the consumer’s purchasing intention is still fresh.

The TradeHero app has been submitted to Apple’s App Store for approval and should be launched soon. So stay tuned, financial geeks! Despite being a work in progress, Dinesh and Dominic have received SGD$600,000 in convertible debt notes from The Network Fund (TNF) under the TIS scheme. TradeHero’s concept sounds great so I look forward to seeing how users will react to the product.


TradeHero CEO Dinesh has 16 years of IT ventures in mobile/online/TV under his belt founding, BowTie, Wireless Intellect Labs along the way. He also has experience wearing the investor hat at Matrix Partners, Vickers Venture Capital, and more. Meanwhile, his partner and CTO Dominic has 14 years of experience in engineering and management positions at Microsoft, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, and Standard Chartered Bank. The team now has eight people including the two founders.

There are four engineers and designers, one business development person, one intern, and one legal person. The legal person, as Dinesh explains, “is generating intellectual property (IP).” The company has two patents pending.

TradeHero is now looking for investors for its next financing round, so be sure to hit them up if this startup interests you.

(And yes, we're serious about ethics and transparency. More information here.)

  • Demi

    Agree, this idea sounds good and monetizable. surprised that no one has thought of it. good that it’s patent pending too.

  • Jack

    What a promo headline… Did they pay u to blog about them? the idea is good but i think there r better ideas out there.

  • Willis Wee

    Hi Jack. Good try but don’t be ridiculous. If you have better ideas, share it with us.

  • Lionel

    Great idea! Looking forward to the launch

  • Xylo

    Kind of pretty sure this post has vested interest . If you just follow e27 , you would find a lot more appealing startups along the same line .. But anyway good luck to tradehero

  • Engineer

    Would it have been too much for you to tell us what this app actually does? What it’s value is and what its business model is?

    This article just boils down to “mobile is grate and this company is using it, cause it’s great!”

  • Engineer

    Whoops, nevermind, someone linked me to the middle of the article, and so I missed the first half.

  • Daylon

    Willis, forget about the trolls, this is a good find that represents a win-win for both users and its’ creators.

    It’s monetisation that Twitter cannot hope to achieve and the business model makes sense for profit driven traders.

  • Jo

    Yes. annoying trolls. Daylon, I think u nailed it. and if i may add… @xylo – what do u mean by vested interest? every article is promotional/informational in nature. that’s very clear to readers on any news sites.

  • Jungfoo

    I applaud Dinesh and his team for coming up with something that as Willis has aptly put, extremely novel. With the new investments, I’m sure they’ll be having many busy and exciting days ahead!

    The team’s biggest challenge lies in the acquisition of ‘Power Traders’ with great proven trade history and records. I wonder how many of such traders will however find the dollar per follower ‘enticing’ enough to share their live trades which often enough, come up to thousands per transaction. My gut is that these people tend to keep their cards and next moves close to their chests.

    There are a few popular investor forums around on the web today with a huge user base discussing various news and updates relating to stocks and tickers. There are also some ‘power users’ on these forums that are followed by many. The difference however, is that these ‘power users’ provide detailed analyses, charts, gossips and content; not so much the sharing of upcoming trades.

    Hey, TradeHero can in fact look to these forums as part of their user acquisition strategies.

    Good luck!

  • Alex

    I wonder why my comment has not been posted at all

  • Alex

    okay,,,,, Stock Market Challenge at Facebook, etc. etc. etc.

    Just to name a few competitors.

    It will take around one year at least to identify consistently profitable traders.

    Considering the particulars of the area – even the best and most popular sites are having only around 10-20k users daily with the best traders having around 1k FREE followers only (check out – for really good trader having even a thousand followers is simply not worth the efforts as he/she would be much better trading his stocks/ideas.

  • Alex

    In addition, comparing best traders by PnL is not having any logical sense as what is more important is level of risk associated with the particular trade. If trader is using only half of his usual capital on a particular trade – he will be getting only half PnL but may have much better risk:reward ratio and winning percentage, so, ultimately, it might result in even better PnL in the long term. Similarly, a trader can get a 1:2-1:4 leverage on his trade and get much higher PnL, but would take much higher risk. Hence, considering PnL without the risk factor does not have any logical sense for a trader.

  • Alex

    Another point – according to the latest studies, Apple devices take only 15% of market share in Q3 2012 and this percentage is decreasing. Hence, targeting iPhone customers first might not be a very viable and strategic idea. Android devices (which is 75% of the market) should be targeted first. I would expect Apple’s market share to be less than 10% next year.

  • crasiman

    Another caveat though : there is no possibility on TradeHero to make SHORT positions.
    A more powerful collaborative experience could be find on UHedgeFund a website launched on 2013.

  • crasiman

    Moreover on UHedgeFund criterias of Trader’s ranking are define by virtual investors !

  • Flopps

    Laggy interface cramps everything & why would I bother to pay 1.99 when I can hop on to online trading sites like etoro and the likes and get live feeds on successful traders. Installed and uninstall after 1 fake trade. Best financial app ? Really?

  • alleggs123

    Better one here

    I developed it as a hobby

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