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Financial Express: a startup takes aim at Goliath

Financial Express

Financial ExpressNot too long ago, Kabweza and l met Tommy Deuschle of Big Africa – a start-up that has gone through many pivots. According to Tommy, the current focus of the company is to become a virtual startup/business accelerator by leveraging on the power of relationships in business. His aim is to create a self sustaining network of businesses that compliment and consolidate each other. One of these startups that Big Africa is a part of is Finx (Financial Express).

Finx can be describe as a Wall Street Journal for Zimbabwe. It provides investors, analysts, entrepreneurs and business executives relevant content via email and through the Finx website. This content includes:

  • an aggregation of business news locally and abroad
  • financial results and stock market intelligence
  • spicy titbits about local corporate politics
  • lifestyle and leisure information

The startup is driven by monthly subscriptions and currently offers the following packages:

We questioned Tommy over why Gold was the premium package instead of Platinum…

After reading the content for nearly a month now l can describe it as a good product; Finx informs and empowers its audience with information and knowledge beyond traditional financial and business news. I found content such as nepotism, insider trading, under-performance, mismanagement and boardroom politics to be of particular value to me. This is the sort of content readers might not be able to get anywhere else yet can be very helpful in understanding various issues to do with business locally. My personal favourite is Finx’s stance of how some executives always seem to get the latest vehicles yet their companies are either making losses or debt ridden.

At the time we met Tommy, Finx had just begun shaping up. The formative version contained too many mistakes associated with fly by night work such as ‘Lorem Ipsum’ sections on the website, ‘too hot to handle’ content that went beyond reporting truths but also involved character assassination, and lack of differentiation with ZFN. For those of you wondering what ZFN is, it was the first online financial news and reporting platform locally and works via email newsletters (in the same format as Finx). Zfn has more than 2,000 subscribers paying between US $10 and US $75 a month depending on the package.

The Finx of today makes ZFN look like a 90s product. Where ZFN sends excel and word documents to your inbox, Finx thrashes them by sending an email that doesn’t need a reader to do anything but just read it. The two are now engaged in a fierce battle to break publish trending content-ZFN has that old boy’s club ring to it while Finx is the new kid on the block with the advantage of being a truly new media platform. A perfect example of this is the fact that ZFN does NOT have a website! And yet if one types in www.finx.co.zw you’re met with a simple but effective website filled with previous newsletters, current affairs and much more.  The zfn.co.zw domain isn’t even registered!

It’s good to see start-ups emerging to challenge convention, like most start-ups (including many Silicon Valley  titans) Finx began with a very raw product. It is evident now that a lot of thinking and work has gone into the current version. We hope it carries on improving.


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20 thoughts on “Financial Express: a startup takes aim at Goliath

  1. l like the website so much, but on the companies, there is no mention of IT companies. Thus very disappointing, is Finx implying that there is no IT companies in Zim or they decided it was not an important section to consume there time on?

  2. Just tried to subscribe for a 15-day trial, link doesn’t work to subscribe. What good is a website selling information if you can’t even buy it?

  3. There is also another publication called Bulls n Bears which is run by a company called Faith Capital (Pvt) Ltd.

    It has a number of interesting products such as:-
    -Bulls n Bears Investor Website (www.bulls.co.zw)
    -Bulls n Bears Investor Notebook (Daily Update)
    -Bulls n Bears Financial Markets Update  (Daily again)
    -Bullish Thoughts (weekly column)
    -Bulls n Bears or is it Diamonds & Dogs
    There is also a blogspot     Bulls ‘n Bears Zimbabwe (http://bullsnbearszimbabwe.blogspot.com/)

    The website doesn’t look very appealing and quite evidently still needs a lot of work to be done.

    The subscribe link on the site however doesn’t seem to be working but you can email bulls@bulls.co.zw to subscribe.

  4. If the article was researched enough, that is you did not edit and republish a press release for Tommy, you will note that on the website idea, the competition is not zfn per say. Their real competition is in the form of Africanfinancials.com who I believe are linked to Biglaw.co linked to Rob..They fully cover that area online. So the idea of selling that information sounds greedy and there are as many websites that provide free newsletters with zse info to subscribers. Yes it is a good idea as that will be increasing access to info but it is not true to say it’s a new inovv better than zfn when there is already something better than even the new site

    1. First, I love Zfn. I read their updates every day and find their service quite useful. They created a great business model and it’s working for them. The concept works so well that FinX adopted (copied if you want) it and are improving it, and so far they’re doing a great job at it

      Secondly, for you to say “Their real competition is in the form of Africanfinancials.com” and that AfricanFinancials “fully cover that area online” is simply incorrect. AfricanFinancials describe their site as ‘a free annual reports service for listed companies in Africa’ and that’s what they do (in addition to corporate announcements). FinX is more than just financial reports and if you visited their site, you’d know that. 

      As for your accusation that this is a republished press release, you can read about our position regarding press releases in our statement of ethics here: http://www.techzim.co.zw/about/

  5. I think we might be missing the issue of target markets here. Surely an executive will not want to know that ZESA is processing tenders for 1 laptop and 5 printers. It’s more like Trivia. ZFN is focused more on the investment side and suitable for executives. I for one am not going to pay to know that Burombo Mudumo was planning to take a third wife and that so and so’s wife crashed his GL500 that’s stuff for H-Metro and i can get it free on hmetrozim.com.

    The point is are we making a correct comparison here. Why would ZFN need a website for starters? Unless may be they become a McGregor BFA!

    As for Finx, i am not sure about their target market but i did not see anything orth paying for.

    Financial info will be difficult to sell in Zimbabwe especially given its abundance for free.

    If you go to africaniscool.com; bulls.co.zw; africanshareholder.com; investorsaint.com you will understand why no reasonable person will want to pay (or maybe they will!).

    And Kabweza can you help those http://www.bulls.co.zw people, their website can make use of the help all the Techie geeks commenting on this site can provide. It’s appearance is horrible!

    1. There are 5 newspapers houses in Zimbabwe, You can also have 5 or more financial news service providers. And besides i think there’s an option to unsubscribe at the bottom….you should make use of that. 

      These guys are still starting and i think this article came in a bit early before everything shapes up. 

      But to quote Burombo and or the GL500s actually means you are reading them. which is good. 

  6. The problem with a website of this nature is that you have to keep it updated and it must work/ Have they registered with the SEC as financial advisers?

    ZFN even without Jonno being in charge 100% is still the marker by which all financial information sites will be measured. Other than being an aggegrator, ZFN also gives an analysis of the markets and results, something the other sites don’t seem to do.

    I have been a subscriber to ZFN for many years and am yet to see a service that matches theirs.

    BTW they do have a website or need one.

  7. don’t see the sense either why gold can be ahead of platinum does that not says a lot about the content if you suppose to be a financial website but don’t know that platinum cost more than gold.Do occasionally visit the 4castresearch.com website it does provide some insight on financial info and like what has been said its all for free so why does someone have to pay.I am told their daily updates are for free

  8. If Bulls n Bears (www.bulls.co.zw) and BusinessOnline (www.bo.co.zw or http://www.4castreaserch.com) are providing the same info for free why pay Finx. Furthermore proper analysis is done by brokers credibly if you know your stockbrokers well so why pay for an analysis done by an armchair analyst/ reporter. Finx’s work is fine but the content is not worth paying for…there are no unique insights offered here. From a look of it, TechZim is just being used to discredit ZFN by former employees of ZFN hiding behind Tommy and not happy with the new shareholders of ZFN who kicked them out no wonder it specialises in character assassination of those individuals who now own ZFN. Finx is just ZFN with new logo (and website) whcih is why it may also be difficult for them to bring down the “Goliath”.

    So can the asessment here be made properly. Don’t just compare Finx with ZFN (which smacks of an agenda), compare them with everyone who is in their sphere of influence.

    1. Suggesting Techzim is being used for FinX PR suggests you don’t understand how we work. Which is ok, just take time to read our about page. 

      The guys at FinX are probably laughing reading all these negative comments and they’re realising just how much of a threat they pose. And no, we don’t know any former Zfn employees at Finx. The Zfn employees we know are still at Zfn and we’re friends with them.Secondly, I’m sure you know clearly that www.bulls.co.zw and www.4castreaserch.com cannot be compared to Zfn or Finx. They just don’t provide the same service.Take the opinion page on Bulls & Bears for example (http://www.bulls.co.zw/section.php?type=opinion). Besides a post made today and another on the 5th of Sept, the rest are articles from July. No updates at all in August. Same thing on their Local Markets page (http://www.bulls.co.zw/section.php?type=local-mrkts). Forget that most of their articles are just pulled from other sites and not in-house opinion pieces.4CastResearch has more frequent updates but if you have sampled the FinX service you know it’s a very different product altogether.So again, please lets not say they’re providing the same info for free. That’s just not true.”Finx is just ZFN with new logo” Correct! Put bluntly they’re copying the concept and working to make the product way better.

      1. After having gone through all your post I find myself agreeing with Gandiwa that your article on was more of a PR piece .I actually did ask my friends who agreed with that.You same to already have rave reviews about Finx even though the service has been working for less than six months.I did take time to go to Bulls,the site took long to open and like u said the article are old.Then i did go to 4castresearch.com and well it might not be research which Gandiwa rightfully said should be sought from a broker but the articles were ok and most of them seem to be originated internally.If you go to the about us it seems the sight has been around for more than four or so.All i am saying is lets not run to judge or you risk lacking credibility.About ZFn never found what the fuss was about ZFN resulting in our company no longer subscribing for a service that gives me the herald which i can buy and his opinion on things.I did hear do some research and found out that yes a former female employee of ZFN has an interest in Finx

        1. mmm…interesting thoughts all round about whether Finx is a better service than Zfn. Finx has just been in operation for 2 months now and in my opinion its still too early to judge whether it is a better service or not. They have done their best and that female employee has certainly shown she can stand on her own. If you have followed Zfn for a long time you will find out that she has been there and that apart from jono she was the only person that could write. She is a familar face and is capable of holding out on her own. 

          The only problem at the moment is that they have to wean themselves from the Zfn style. Its almost too similar but you can see they are making an effort. 

  9. This was forwarded on to me by someone this morning and i will agree with most comments that it is still early to compare FinX with any of the websites that have been there for a long time. It is still a new service and probably does not match to any of the sites that have been there for a long time. 

    The reason platinum is cheaper is than gold is not so much that the guys do not know the worth but its because it is a special group for the brokers and asset managers. These guys are the most important chain in this business therefore platinum becomes the favoured group, which enjoys a special discount. 

    In reply to Asekuru please note that not all people dont like tenders. There are some who follow those tenders faithfully and are on the service for that. In terms of whether the information is worth paying for that’s solely up to you. You have a choice. Finx even the 2.5 months it has been in operations has not gone all out to make people pay. 

    There will always be teething problems in any start up and Finx is no different. That it has to wean itself from the Zfn way of doing things, that’s agreeable but people do not have to put emotions into that in terms of …there are former employees who got kicked out and are trying to discredit their former employers. In my view no one was kicked out of Zfn and those who left did so willingly. To this day there is a friendly relationship between them. 

  10. A colleague did point me to the debate going on here. Of course i did know about TechZim back from the days of Ecoweb 4G reviews.

    I do agree that Bulls n Bears (www.bulls.co.zw) is a bit behind with articles at times. The fact that opinion pieces are mainly email based means the uploading to the website may not happen timeously.

    As to who is better between (Bulls n Bears), Finx, ZFN, etc is for the market to judge. It would be interesting to see the profile of TechZim readership as it determines the interest one has in particular content. That we have been around since November 2007 and getting subscribe requests almost daily means the service is relevant (or perhaps becoz its for free).

    Asekuru said the site is crappy! I am not a web developer/ designer per se and would suggest Asekuru offer/ proposes a better solution/ service provider who can make the site top notch.

    I do comment TechZim for allowing people the platform to air views on various issues. It’s just that at times comments do get out of control as people become emotional and all.

    I for one will welcome any criticism that you have about our site (www.bulls.co.zw). From my end it usually opens very fast (under 10 seconds for complete loading).

    If anyone thinks they can make the site better email your solution and relevant costs to bulls@bulls.co.zw or tmutswiti@gmail:disqus .com. Unfortunately because of spam challenges we disabled subscribe link on homepage.

    PS People can choose to pay for what is relevant to them and adds value. The fact that some don’t charge doesn’t imply poor quality content…after all even Economist, FT, etc offer free content. Pay if you may, the financial intelligence is purely yours!

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