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Hong Kong tech firm eyes global investors

Teresa Leung (Computerworld HK) | Nov. 1, 2013
Hong Kong-based tech startup Phinary Systems has created a tool that helps individuals and organizations make capital allocation decisions.

Hong Kong-based tech startup Phinary Systems has created a tool that helps individuals and organizations make capital allocation decisions.

CWHK: Is your background in finance? How many founders are there?
Phillip Yoon: All three founders including myself come from a finance background. During the past 10 to 12 years, I was a financial advisor, a portfolio manager, and a fund manager in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Switzerland. We founded the company in January this year.

CWHK: Why did you pick Hong Kong rather than your native Singapore to start your business?
PY: For a financial tools provider like us, Hong Kong is the place to be. As a regional financial hub, Hong Kong sees huge money flows and provides more talented engineers for financial products. As we plant to target the China market in the future, we need bilingual professionals who have experience dealing with mainland companies—this is what Hong Kong offers.

CWHK: When did you start to develop your current product? How much has your firm invested in R&D so far?
PY: We started product development in early 2012, a year before we founded the company in early 2013. Our efficiency drive and cost-control efforts ensured that our current R&D budget hasn't exceeded US$500,000, which covers human resources, equipment, and cloud expenses.

CWHK: How do your products work?
PY: Our products help investors make capital allocation decisions for their investment portfolios.

After selecting his or her preferred investments, an investor or portfolio manager has to think about the allocation structure. For instance, an investor with a stock portfolio comprising five equity holdings might want an equally-weighted allocation structure—20% in each stock—or a biased-weighted deployment such that a larger allocation is assigned to his most preferred investment.

Our products help provide visibility into the impact of a portfolio's performances given the capital allocation choices available.

CWHK: Who are your target customers?
PY: We target customers in three categories: financial professionals and investors, institutions, and specialized clients. We provide them with different products. For the first category, we have Phinary Efficient Portfolio (PEP) and Phinary Optimal Portfolio (POP). We target the second category with POP and Phinary Investment Portfolio (PIP). We provide Phinary Absolute Portfolio (PAP) to those in the third category.

CWHK: How much do you charge your customers?
PY: We charge a monthly subscription fee—US$19.90 per user for PEP and US$150 per user for POP. Charges vary for the two professional versions—PIP and PAP—as their users require customization.

CWHK: Who are your current customers? Where are they from?
PY: We have 1,500-2,000 registered users—most of them are using PEP. Two financial advisor houses in Hong Kong are also our customers. And we've forged an alliance with PhillipCapital, a large financial intermediary in Singapore that has a global presence in 16 countries. Most of their employees are using our products at work.


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