Lule Demmissie is the U.S. CEO of eToro, a global social trading platform with 32 million users in 100 countries. Demmissie says: “Think of it as Twitter and then on top of it a trading system and then on top of that a place for people to practice.” Social engagement drives the platform. When users log in, they see a broad feed of user thoughts on the assets, markets and investing. As users navigate to each asset, they gain access to a unique feed that presents user posts related to that specific offering. People can trade crypto, stocks, ETFs and options, the latter made possible by eToro’s recent acquisition of Gatsby, a commission-free options trading app. Futures could be a possibility someday.
Demmissie says eToro users are “tomorrow’s investors now” with a big hump of millennials in the middle. It is very much a future demographic platform. She says eToro’s users have little patience for complexity so the design is elegant and simple. EToro’s success is built on the retail revolution of the last 10-plus years. Users are self-directed and may participate in short-term investments like options or long-term strategies. Demmissie says it has a very diverse user base, whether by age, race, or background, similar to the diversity of crypto users. “I would love to see that secular trend continue to be a much bigger tent in options as well. There’s a very important part options play in a person’s portfolio. And I think that we are made better for it when more people partake.”
As to the 50th anniversary of the industry, Demmissie says, “To me it’s a celebration of the fact that it is possible to have mature infrastructure and regulation and industry discipline around instruments that are clearly complex, and in some ways, more risky than others.” Her advice to those just getting started: “The first thing I tell people is don’t get daunted by the language….And then the second thing I tell them is, you know, the beauty of this space is that it allows you to take frequent risks in smaller increments. And that is a magic combination.”
We asked Lule Demmissie these questions:
Can you give a brief history of eToro?
Any plans for futures?
What do investors like about your platform?
How has eToro built a solid user base?
How do users use the platform? Speculation, investing, diversification?
Can you give us a preview of your “Building Industry and Diversity for a Strong Future” fireside chat?
What does it mean to you to be a part of an industry celebrating its 50th anniversary?
What do you want to see from future conferences?
What’s one piece of advice that you’d give to someone starting in the industry?