Zak Westphal on Innovation, Opportunity, and Democratizing Trading For All

Horia Tomescu 23/05/2024 | 22:32

The retail trading industry has certainly been on the receiving end of a lot more interest over the past few years.

With accessible new technologies such as mobile trading apps and commission-free trading platforms, new investors have flooded to the markets, both traditional and alternative, in a hope to turn a profit. 

One person that has found themselves right in the middle of this influx is Zak Westphal, the visionary co-founder and CEO of StocksToTrade.

With a firm belief in opening up the markets to a wider audience, Zak is on a mission to make the institutional-grade technologies that have given the elite a competitive advantage for years available to the rest of us.

Sitting down for an exclusive interview, Westphal unpacks the personal experiences that sparked his vision to transform retail investing.

He also shares perspectives on empowering traders through innovation, trends driving the industry’s future, and keys to success for those entering the market.

Can you walk us through what originally inspired you to start StocksToTrade many years back and what specific need did you see in the market that your platform aimed to address?

Well, my own start in trading began just a while back when I was a retail investor trying to figure things out on my own. I quickly saw how stacked the odds felt against the little guy.

Everything – from access to data to quality of tools – catered to big institutions who already had an unfair advantage. I became determined to change the game and create more fairness.

That spark grew into the vision behind StocksToTrade – a platform that finally levels the playing field by giving regular traders the same caliber of resources the elite firms keep for themselves.

I wanted to drive a movement bringing accessibility, transparency and empowerment to a system sorely lacking in all three.

In an increasingly crowded fintech space, how does the StocksToTrade platform truly differentiate itself from competitors?

Our magic combination is delivering high-caliber analytics alongside holistic education and community support. Most platforms just hand you tools and leave you on your own.

We take it to the next level by nurturing confident, self-directed traders through knowledge sharing. It’s not just about tech features – it’s equipping people with mastery to thrive in any market.

We teach traders how to fish better themselves – to become expert anglers that catch opportunities however the winds blow.

You clearly leverage a lot of cutting-edge technology like artificial intelligence and sophisticated algorithms. Can you share a specific example of how integrating things like machine learning and AI truly benefits your users?

The Oracle scanner is a prime example. On the surface it looks slick and simple to use. But behind the scenes we’ve built in artificial intelligence combing through mountains of complex historical data no human could ever duplicate.

It leverages machine learning to surface the best volatility-adjusted trade setups by continually scanning millions of data points across assets.

So rather than traders having to do all that exhaustive analysis themselves, our AI does the heavy number crunching automatically to deliver a refined watchlist of opportunities in seconds.

What emerging trends and technologies do you see shaping the future of retail investing in the coming years? And how will StocksToTrade continue leading the charge by capitalizing on them?

It’s inevitable we’ll see an even bigger wave of retail investors enter the market with more specialized platforms tailored to their needs.

Folks will expect greater personalization – think customized notifications, AI-driven recommendations, intuitive mobile functionality.

And hunger for education on navigating evolving markets won’t disappear either even as self-directed trading gets more accessible.

We’ve already built StocksToTrade specifically for retail traders versus institutions. As audience needs grow, we’ll keep bettering our platform, features and instructional resources so traders have everything required to thrive under all conditions.

As the retail trading revolution continues, what excites you most about the industry’s future? Where do you see the biggest opportunities ahead?

What energizes me most is the passion exploding among retail investors – folks realizing they can take control of their financial futures.

I see bigger opportunities ahead to make trading even more inclusive to diverse demographics through education and innovation.

My goal is bringing more people to the game by building technology that empowers them. So opportunities feel boundless if we stay dedicated to that empowerment mission – turning new traders into confident masters while also expanding the retail tent ever wider. The revolution’s just getting started!

Finally, what advice can you offer ambitious investors or aspiring traders wanting to find success navigating the financial markets themselves despite the inherent challenges?

My number one tip is you have to fully commit from day one if you want to master trading – no casually dipping your toes.

Immerse yourself studying indicators, volatility models, chart patterns – geek out on the concepts inside and out! Develop a plan catered to your risk tolerance that expects ups and downs.

Stay obsessively determined perfecting your fundamentals while adding new skills. Setbacks will come but those who respect the process and invest in their education…they’re the ones that will win big over the long-term!

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Horia Tomescu | 06/06/2024 | 16:28
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