Building Freetrade

Meet the ex-Googler who leads our growth

Freetrade Team

November 26, 2017

Freetrade Team

Viktor Nebehaj is our Head of Growth, and he is the first hire at Freetrade.

Viktor Nebehaj is our Head of Growth, and he is the first hire at Freetrade.

He is from Hungary of all places, but lived in Ireland, Hong Kong, Germany, and probably a few other countries we forgot to note down.

When he opened a bank account at Barclays upon moving to London, the clerk (half-)jokingly asked him if he was a spy.

Can you tell us about your background?

Sure!

I grew up in the east block (the actual one, not the London nightclub).

I joined Google in 2005 when it was less than 100 people in Europe — it was quite a scrappy startup at the time. To put 2005 into context, Gmail was a new product, the YouTube acquisition wasn’t even a plan (and when it was, the $1B sounded frivolous), and there was none of the famous free Google food in the Dublin office, where I was based.

In 2012, I decided I was still curious about the ‘outside world’. I found an exciting role in Hong Kong and joined iProspect to oversee the takeover of the largest digital media account in the world, General Motors, from another agency network. I had never lived in Asia before, so when I wrapped up my life in Dublin and landed in Hong Kong with a medium-sized suitcase containing all my belongings, I had no idea what to expect!

Asia is a fantastic place. I learnt more in a few months than I did in my final few years at Google.

After a year, my partner found a role and re-joined Google in London, so I moved back to Europe. I joined a startup in Munich. Its awesome investors saw potential in my experience at Google and in Asia, and they put me on the board of directors of one of their investments in Vietnam (called Cốc Cốc), the most successful local startup, a browser that successfully challenges Chrome locally. I served 1.5 years on the board.

How did you come to work at Freetrade?

When I finally joined my partner in London, I found one of the best things in the UK was that I could invest in startups via crowdfunding platforms like Crowdcube.

When Freetrade popped up on my Crowdcube feed, I finally found something I’ve been looking for in the UK: a free stock trading app similar to Robinhood.

I quickly pledged as much money as I could afford, and I turned out to be the first investor who committed a meaningful amount. That caught the CEO’s attention, which led to conversations that led to a formal interview after a year.

I became Freetrade’s first hire, and I hope I’ll be joined by many more!

What do you think is the biggest difference between Google and Freetrade? And between other startups and Freetrade?

Google is a gigantic enterprise by now, and everyone has their very well defined role.

As an engineer, you might work on a specific feature of a specific product, and maybe you rotate into a different team over time. You use languages and frameworks that are the standard at Google, and they may or may not be used by your peers at startups and other companies.

At Freetrade, we look for people with T-shaped skills — you have deep expertise in one thing, but you can (and are keen to!) work on various other areas: whatever pushes our mission forward.

Regarding most other startups, the biggest difference I see is that we are driven to start a social change.

We build a product that lets people invest for free, and it will unlock a new generation of consumers that had previously never invested in the stock market.

Freetrade is pre-launch. Why do you work on growth?

I thought you’d never ask!

A lot of the things we want to do is best done if we scale — providing free trades, data-driven features, etc. That means getting the word out about us, and that can’t start too early.

Our biggest competitor is not Hargreaves Lansdown, it’s the notion that you should not bother investing. It’s not understanding investing as a lifestyle choice.

Our generation is convinced the whole financial system is rigged and thinks it only serves a small group of people.

As a result, even those who work in the financial services industries might not know what an ISA is, or what ‘equity’ means.

We want to get the word out that the situation can be challenged and changed. The financial system should serve the many, not the few, but it takes some serious work (and your support!) to get there.


Important Information

This should not be read as personal investment advice and individual investors should make their own decisions or seek independent advice.

When you invest, your capital is at risk. The value of your portfolio can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you invest. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.

Freetrade is a trading name of Freetrade Limited, which is a member firm of the London Stock Exchange and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England and Wales (no. 09797821).

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