Benzinga recently caught up with Mike Vien, the new CEO of Vetr. Vien joined Vetr in May, and we chatted about his first few months at the company, his focus for the future and how he’s hoping to use his extensive experience in Fintech to make Vetr an everyday destination for people to be more effective and successful self-directed investors. The following is an excerpt of our interview.
Benzinga: You have a background in both the financial services world and in startups. What was it about Vetr that appealed to you?
Vien: For starters it was the power of the platform. I can’t think of a more worthwhile purpose than investing in tools that create financial opportunity for people. I could immediately see the vision for Vetr. For me, what that means being able to help improve the quality of life for people — whether that is to create financial security, pay for education, enjoy retirement, or to buy a new car, a new home, or take a vacation.
Secondly it’s the market opportunity. I’ve spent the majority of my career building wealth management and brokerage businesses in both retail and intermediary markets. This is a very interesting time for our industry; a company like Vetr can take on the big guys with innovation and big ideas, and not just big balance sheets.
Thirdly it is the model. Investing is essentially about access and knowledge. As we have seen in other industries — e-commerce, payments, transportation, hospitality — providing access and sharing knowledge over the internet significantly lowers the costs of delivering services to the point where they become free to the consumer. I believe our industry is on that same path and many of these services will eventually become free as well. There is so much room for early stage fintech companies to come in and improve the status quo.
Benzinga: Vetr provides crowdsourced ratings on stocks. Is that where the company’s focus still is?
Vien: Yes. Delivering crowdsourced star ratings on stocks and ETFs is still …