Didier starts terminal
That’s right, I’m thrilled to be announcing the launch of a new company - OpenBB - following the success of Gamestonk Terminal. OpenBB will be an open source company, focused on building the most advanced investment research tools accessible to everyone.
I’m overwhelmed that what started as a project in my spare time, has come this far and allowed me to be in the position that I’m in today. It wouldn’t have been possible without such a strong community of like-minded people, and for that, I could never thank you enough.
Because of that, I feel that the very least I can do is tell you the full story. TL;DR: Compound hard work pays off.
As a young investor, I saw that new trading platforms such as Robinhood, Coinbase and Binance received a lot of attention. Excited about investing, I looked for research tools but didn't find anything really helpful. I found a large number of sites offering various investment data and opinions, but I had trouble making sense of large volumes of raw unrefined data.
Also, having 13 websites open on different tabs to look at a particular stock, and refresh each individually when it was time to look at another company, wasn’t really my definition of productivity.
The reality is that there are good platforms out there, but those are unaffordable for myself, my family or friends.
As a Software Developer and an AI/ML enthusiast, I decided to leverage modern data science tools to help me make sense out of investing. I started the development of the Gamestonk Terminal during the COVID Christmas break.
During the following 2 months, I must have slept an average of 5 hours a day. I was working hard on the terminal and I could slowly see it coming together and improving day by day. For that I was sacrificing all my time. Thus, I told my girlfriend that on 24 of February (2021) I would make the project public on GitHub, and from then on I would chill down a bit. What a lie…
That very same night, I didn’t sleep. I was awake for over 50 hours in a row. From a post on Reddit becoming viral, solving multiple issues being raised on Github, ranking #1 on HackerNews, my phone was in a constant vibrating state. Soon after, Vice magazine and other fintech companies wrote about us. Seriously, the support was overwhelming to say the least and the code reached tens of thousands of people.
WHY OPEN SOURCE?
Early on, several people (including friends and family) didn’t understand why I wasn’t even remotely thinking about monetizing in a market that is highly profitable - finance. As counter-intuitive as it sounds, they missed the point that making the terminal open source was the very reason why we had chances to impact millions of lives.
Open source is the best way to create a community around a product. This was extremely important because I’m a strong believer that everyone should know how to invest. We, as humans, are constantly investing, whether it is on the stock market or in our passion, dreams or desires. I wanted the terminal to fill the needs of every individual, regardless of whether they want to invest on the stock market in Japan, do real estate in Portugal or buy $DOGE in Mars. I wanted for people to be able to do it simultaneously. If I am interested in Gold, ETH and Tesla, I should be able to compare these investments on the same platform even though they are different assets.
Due to the sheer amount of investment assets and geographies, open source is again the main reason why we stand a chance to tackle all of these, as we can capture the best developers and ideas. Plus, with the GME frenzy, I was understanding what a group of like-minded people could achieve working together on something. I understood something else, during that time my investment experience was much better because I felt I wasn’t on my own - WAGMI.
One of our best assets is the fact that our contributors are not only software engineers but financial advisors, data scientists, machine learning researchers, analysts, day traders, mathematicians, students, physicists or portfolio managers.
After such an overwhelming response from the community, I was sure that this was no longer the terminal I needed, but the terminal everyone needed. I was on a mission to not only develop this investment research platform but also build a community of like-minded individuals around it - and for that, I needed to gather the best team:
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
The first to accept taking care of this baby with me was Artem. His vision for the terminal and skills in DevOps brought massive PR changes to the project and allowed us to implement overall better practices and nice report features. Not long after, James joined us too by consistently working on feature requests at an impressive pace all whilst finishing off his PhD in Quantum Physics. Soon after came many other people that helped the terminal become what it is today.
Couple of months down the line, Joseph Jacks and OSS Capital offered us the once in a lifetime opportunity to create a company around our project. (James actually met JJ on his honeymoon - and yes, rumour has it that James almost became single that day). We knew OSS Capital was the perfect fit as they the world's first and only VC exclusively dedicated to COSS startups, and most importantly, understood our vision.
After we accepted their offer, we began the most exciting journey one could hope for: making investment research accessible to everyone. In the following weeks I was bringing Naval Ravikant, Elad Gil and Ram Shriram as angels to raise a $8.5 Million round. I couldn’t believe that I was talking with people that up to that point I had only known from audiobooks and podcasts.
One of the things we discussed among ourselves was the need to rebrand in order to show that we were serious about the company and how we can disrupt the space. The first suggestion by James was to have “open” in the name, so that people could associate us with being an open source investment platform.
If you have read our article with Vice Magazine, you know that the name Gamestonk Terminal came from the tragedy - as they put it - of my GME shares tanking. Thus, we wanted to keep the tradition, and since we both lost money on blackberry, it was a no brainer to add “BB” to the name.
Choosing the name was actually the hardest part since we founded the company. The team we’ve built just fell into place super smoothly. Most of them were already part of the open source community. This meant that people already knew each other and were very motivated towards our goal.
What I love the most about our team is that everyone is open, honest, curious, forward thinking, energetic and fun. In theory I’m working, in practice I’m having fun building something unique with a group of friends. The expectation is in a garage in Silicon Valley, the reality is worldwide over a Zoom call.
The support that we have been receiving combined with the community (from team to contributors and investors), makes us believe we’ve got a chance against the 100-billion-dollar financial information market dominated by Bloomberg LP, Reuters Eikon, FactSet, S&P Capital IQ, and Morningstar Direct.
If you want to be part of this rocketship, join us on our discord and/or contribute to the terminal, that’s the best way to get noticed. We are always looking for new like-minded individuals, the terminal won’t build itself, and there’s lot of opportunities.