Tykr is a stock screener and education platform all-in-one that helps people get into the stock market, regardless of their level of knowledge. Since 2020 Tykr has helped thousands of investors make better investment decisions. We talk to founder Sean Tepper about the idea behind the business, the brand name, how to launch a business during a pandemic, and what to expect from Tykr in the future.
Tell me a bit about yourself, how did you start Tykr?
If you’re somebody who wants to get started in the stock market, like many people are right now, the question is, where do you start? Tykr is that perfect starting point. It breaks things down in really simple terms. We don’t use 20 dollar words and confusing language, which can be found in finance. We make it super easy in that regard, and then the screener analyzes stocks for you. It finds good stocks that steer you away from the bad stocks. You probably remember GameStop was all the rage last year, and AMC and those stocks were very risky, but still, people were going to them because it was the shiny object, you could say.
My background is a little over 15 years in software engineering; primarily project management had a company from 2006 to 2010. It was an agency that built websites and software. When social media started to become a thing, we did a little bit of that, and then we went through a merger in 2010. It wasn’t like a big liquidity event, like, “Hey, here’s a bunch of cash. You can ride off into the sunset and retire.” More than all debts and liabilities were removed from the company and me, so it was essentially a fresh start. That allowed me to gain a lot of exposure to a wide variety of businesses, and the business model I really liked the most was SaaS software as a service. At the time of 2010, I didn’t have any SaaS ideas, so for the next 10 years, I worked for large corporations, including GE and Kohler. And that’s been a really good experience to learn how these businesses operate.
But at the same time, still kind of like trying to think of an idea, like a SaaS idea or something I could execute. In 2015, I started getting into the stock markets a little bit. Before that, I was doing some angel investing, helping small tech startups, some with money and some with just expertise, but I never had any of those big wins.
Coming back to 2015, I’m like, “I need to start building my wealth if I want to retire someday, and I can’t keep taking these risks, so I got to start doing it the Warren Buffet way.” I read a bunch of books. I went down the YouTube rabbit hole and tried to take in as much knowledge as possible to learn, “How are they doing this?.” Because these guys like Warren Buffett, and Charlie Munger, the two big names that come to mind, ‘ve been able to beat the market consistently, and the question is “How?”. And I know they’re not gambling men; they’re not going to the casino and using emotions in that, which means they’re using some sort of logic. Given my background in software engineering, I’m like, “Okay, so they’re using logic, there’s some sort of math they’re using.” That’s why I put something together in Excel. I wanted a way to remove my emotions from the equation and didn’t want to look at a stock and think, “Well, maybe it’s going to do well, or maybe it’s not. And what if this happens? What if that?”. I wanted to definitively know whether this is a good investment or bad so I can enjoy things I like to do in life aside from sitting on a computer. I created this Excel sheet and ended up generating really good returns over four years. It wasn’t anything glamorous, but I was making returns that were between 15 and 50%, and I was very pleased with that. That came to 2019 when I started sharing this with some people like retail investors and some institutions, and they were all like, “Hey, when are you going to turn this into a software?” So that was finally 10 years later when I’ve got my SaaS idea. It took about a year to build. We went live in 2020, and now we’ve been live for about 18 months, and we have just crossed 4,000 customers globally.
So you launched basically during the pandemic?
In your case, it’s probably not such a terrible time because people had more time to spend and I guess we all became a bit more concerned about our finances and planning…
You are a hundred percent right. That actually worked out in the favor; as they say, timing is a big factor in business. I didn’t really think about that, but there were many people with all this available time, and they wanted to think about their finances. And at the same time, RobinHood and TD Ameritrade, and other brokers around the globe are becoming free, which means you can join them to buy and sell shares of any stock. Still, there’s always a micro fee behind the scene, but you don’t have to worry about that, so the barrier to entry is becoming super low. We hit the market at the right time, coming in between and teaching people like, “yes, you should totally invest on your own, but be careful, right. You want to buy the right stocks and avoid the bad ones.” So again, our timing, fortunately, was very good.
How did you come up with the brand name?
That was a process. I had a few longer names in the past that weren’t very glamorous, and I wanted a name that was two syllables; think about Netflix, Facebook, Google, and something that had tech and was quick, short, and sweet, but also something that represented the stock market. Tykr, as it’s normally spelled T I C K E R.com, was unavailable, but I’d found T Y K R was available as a .pro. Eventually, we did buy the.com when we had enough revenue. It came at a price, but it was worth it.
I’d found T Y K R was available as a .pro. Eventually, we did buy the.com when we had enough revenue. It came at a price, but it was worth it.
Sean Tepper, Founder and CEO of Tykr
What feedback did you get after getting the .com?
There wasn’t a lot actually from our customers; the value is in the tool itself at the end of the day. Something to think about is depending on the email client you use, like there are still people out there that use Hotmail or Yahoo mail, some of these can be really strict, and if you don’t have a.com, it can fall into spam a little easier. You’ve got to have a more common TLD, and the .com helps with that. I know technology kind of mitigates that risk, but the .com can definitely give a higher assurance that more emails will land in the inbox. The other factor was that someday, depending on how this goes, we would like to sell the company, and having that.com does increase the enterprise value.
Someday, depending on how this goes, we would like to sell the company, and having that .com does increase the enterprise value.
Sean Tepper, Founder and CEO of Tykr
What’s next? You’ve mentioned that you’re working now on some new features for education. What else do you have that’s exciting?
Yes, education is big. We’ll also be adding a portfolio tracker, and this is something people have been asking for as they want to be able to track their stocks. We’re going to be adding crypto to Tykr as well. Suppose you like investing in index funds or ETFs, which are essentially a big bundle of many stocks. In that case, you’ll be able to track that in one location and see other people’s portfolios. If you follow somebody’s portfolio like mine, you can see when I make changes, like if I bought this stock or sold this stock, so it’s full transparency into the community, and there’s a little bit of crowdsourcing.
Watch the full interview to see what else is Tyrk up to below.