At Union Square Ventures, we seldom invest in a company before it launches publicly. The exception is when we have the opportunity to back an experienced entrepreneur with a strong team and a strong product vision. That is exactly what happened with Tracked.com. So we now find ourselves in the unusual position of announcing the public launch of an investment we made some time ago.
A year ago, Mike Yavonditte, a web veteran based in New York who had worked at Ziff-Davis, Juno, Alta Vista and Interactive Corporation, and who had most recently gone wire to wire as the CEO of Quigo, began assembling a team to build a new kind of financial information service. We were impressed by how many of the people he had worked with at Quigo were either investors in the company or employees. That wasn’t the case with one of his key hires, Bert Solivan from FoxNews, but he came on board after working with Mike as one of Quigo’s largest customers.
Mike also brought a fresh perspective to financial information services; one that we believe could be the foundation for a fundamentally different user experience. Tracked.com has all of the usual data sources and features that you would expect from a financial information service, but they have acquired a number of sources that no one else is currently presenting, sources that allow them to provide unique insights into private as well as public companies. They deliver that rich data set through an interface that can be highly customized and adapts to the users behavior on the site. This idea, which Mike brought with him from the ad optimization world, was one of the things we found most intriguing about Tracked.com’s product vision.
Just as you would expect from an ad optimization system, everything on the site is instrumented, but instead of using a user’s behavior on the site to serve ads, Tracked.com uses it to continually improve the relevance of the content it presents.
Perhaps the most innovative thing Tracked.com has done is to introduce a social media layer to a financial services site. Tracked.com is more than just an information service. The service is designed to allow you to share insights within the service, publicly or within a private group and will soon allow you to link out to all of the popular social media sites and embed charts and other content.
These are still early days. Tracked.com is still presenting only a small fraction of the data they have licensed on the site. They expect to rapidly evolve the interface and the social features as users interact with the service. But based on our experience over the last few weeks, it is already an incredibly useful service. Check it out and let us know what you think.