INNOVATORS VS COVID 19
Entrepreneurship in the Times of Covid
Victor Gomez, founder of BITA speaks to us about the indexing technology and the impacts of Covid-19.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Victor Gomez: I think the COVID-19 pandemic has been a very complex scenario for everyone, with no exceptions. In these times, everyone I know (myself included) has had to reinvent themselves and take proper measures in order to stay safe and sound. While I followed the situation, I think the pandemic triggered the need to handle more stressful situations to readapt the company, our business activity, and create a framework that enabled BITA to work together in order to keep delivering our products and services on time. On other hand, my family and friends are doing well, they are healthy and safe and that’s something I’m very grateful for.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded BITA.
Victor Gomez: I’m CEO and Co-Founder of BITA. BITA is a Fintech startup that provides high-performance indexing infrastructure and services to institutional investors and financial institutions. Prior to BITA, I was Senior Vice President of Ventures at the Deutsche Börse Group, where I helped to drive the exchange’s data and index innovation efforts.
In 2018, I co-founded BITA intending to leverage technology to cover some needs that the indexing and passive investment industry will have in the coming years. While the development of indexes still relies on third parties, at BITA we wanted to change the complete business model of the industry and shift from the licensing of data and IP to the licensing of technology instead.
How does BITA innovate?
Victor Gomez: In the last few years, the index industry has experienced exponential growth. Today, over 3 million indexes are calculated globally. Despite being one of the fastest-growing areas in financial services, it is greatly underserved.
Over the last years, custom indexing has also grown significantly. Thanks to this scenario, clients are constantly approaching index providers in order to request index calculation and administration services, covering a large variety of methodologies, asset classes, and specific requirements. Often this process takes a long time and requires many iterations between clients and index providers. BITA was born for this reason, with the vision of enhancing product development while offering innovation and fully-fledged indexing services to cover our client’s needs.
At BITA we are changing the complete business model of the industry. We are shifting the model from the licensing of data and intellectual property to the licensing of technology instead. Hence, an index construction project that until now could take up to 3 months, thanks to BITA can be instead managed directly by clients, on a completely customized basis, in minutes.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
Victor Gomez: At the beginning, the Coronavirus pandemic affected us more in the day-to-day of Frankfurt’s office headquarters, but little by little we had to adapt ourselves to have a more flexible perspective on how to work together remotely. It was all new, not only for me but also for my team. Hence, we found ourselves in the need to reinforce our communications channels and keep working steady but from the safety of our homes. Aside from that, the pandemic didn’t affect a significant part of our team as we have members in other countries from South America and Europe that already work remotely.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Victor Gomez: Yes, it was a rough time also, as we didn’t know the potential implications of the pandemic in our business activity. Therefore, my goal was to keep my team, even if a slowdown in the revenues affected us. I think it was the right thing to do as one year later not only our business activity has grown but also our team. Keeping that it’s already positive when compared to a lot of companies that, unfortunately, could not keep their activity steady during the pandemic.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Victor Gomez: We moved our project management and communications tools to a new scheme, and now we have organized ourselves thanks to tools like Slack, ClickUp, and Google Meet. And more than tools or software, I think that what kept BITA steady was the discipline and hard work of myself and the team.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Victor Gomez: Our competitors are very large organizations with long-standing indexing businesses. In order to compete against players with way more resources, the only way is to have modern, scalable technology. This is a quick-growing market, so there are many opportunities for companies coming with a unique approach to how to do things. Our vision is to achieve the holy grail of indexing: provide a fully automated and extremely flexible indexing delivery experience.
Your final thoughts?
Victor Gomez: Entrepreneurship is not easy. It requires a lot of strength and passion. While there might be some “easy” stories of success, in most cases, the entrepreneur has to sacrifice many things in life. That should not, however, scare others from trying. There is nothing worse than living a life asking yourself why didn’t try.
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