The TradingView Business Model – How Does TradingView Make Money?

Executive Summary:

TradingView is a charting platform and social network that is used by retail traders and institutional investors to analyze financial assets.

TradingView makes money from monthly subscription fees, ads running on its platform, referral fees, as well as licensing fees.

Founded in 2011, TradingView has grown to become the world’s leading charting platform. The company has raised over $338 million in venture funding to date.

What Is TradingView?

TradingView is a charting platform and social network that is used by retail traders and institutional investors to analyze financial assets.

These financial instruments include stocks, currencies, indices, forex, futures, bonds, or even cryptocurrencies.

At their most basic form, TradingView charts offer a high-level overview of an asset’s performance over a certain amount of time. This includes the open, high, low, and close price for each candlestick.

On top of that, TradingView has developed its own scripting language called Pine Script, which enables users to customize the tool.

What sets TradingView apart is the social component that is native to its chart tool. Users can follow other traders, publish their own charts and investment theses, or even live stream themselves while analyzing charts.

On top of that, TradingView also shares various financial news and updates, such as a financial calendar for earnings updates.

The TradingView platform can be accessed by visiting its website as well as by downloading its desktop or mobile application (available on Android and iOS devices).

TradingView Company History

TradingView, headquartered in London, United Kingdom, was founded in 2011 by Denis Globa, Constantin Ivanov, and Stan Bokov.

Prior to launching TradingView, the trio had already gained experience launching and operating charting platforms.

In 1999, Globa and Ivanov co-founded MutliCharts, a desktop software that, similar to TradingView, allows traders to analyze financial assets.

Ten years after launching the software business, they met Bokov who joined the company as a technical support specialist and rose to become its Chief Operations Officer.

Together, the trio decided to undergo a major pivot. At the time, social media networks like Facebook, which eventually went public in September 2012, were all the rave.

However, trading stocks and other financial assets was often a very lonely and costly endeavor. Professional charting tools like the Bloomberg Terminal could cost up to $25,000 per year, which severely limited access.

In September 2011, they finally unveiled TradingView to the public. Over the coming two years, they carefully grew the business, raising a little bit of capital (such as a convertible note of $100,000 in May 2013).

The team and platform received a boost when it joined TechStars Chicago, the city it was previously headquartered in, in April 2013. Their first major round of funding was announced in January 2014 when TradingView raised a seed round of $652,000.

Over the coming months, TradingView largely grew via word-of-mouth as well as by partnering with highly-frequented financial sites. These sites would integrate TradingView’s charting software into their own platform, allowing them to display visuals to readers. In return, TradingView’s logo would be placed on the bottom of the chart, which led to substantial amounts of referral traffic.

Additionally, increased activity on its social network would lead to more discussions and content being posted, which in turn attracted more users. On top of that, traders would share their analysis across social feeds like Twitter for added exposure.

Given that traders could use their real names and need to be authenticated, this added an additional layer of security to their claims. Traders would then be rewarded with points and increased rankings, which ultimately increased their reputation within TradingView’s community.

By July 2015, TradingView was partnering with over 4,000 financial portals and websites, including Investopedia, Seeking Alpha, and others. As a result, the company was able to raise another round of funding (Series A), netting them $3.6 million in additional cash.

A year later, in May 2016, TradingView came a step closer to its vision of becoming a one-stop shop for all things trading. It announced a partnership with forex trading platform FXCM, which allowed its users to place trades on TradingView itself.

All of these partnerships allowed TradingView to reach the inaugural mark of one million monthly active users in July. It also profited from the rise of free stock trading platforms like Robinhood, which themselves began to attract millions of novice traders.

Other external developments, in particular the crypto bull run of 2017, allowed TradingView to continue growing at an exponential rate. It ended the year with a little over seven million monthly active users.

As a result, the team was able to raise a massive $37 million funding round in May 2018. Up until that point, TradingView managed to build its platform with ‘only’ around $4 million in funding despite being almost 100-people strong. However, most of its hires were based in Eastern Europe, which allowed the company to employ talented engineers at a fraction of the cost.

The fundraise, furthermore, allowed the team to make its first-ever acquisition in April 2019. It purchased TradeIt, which has built an API for on-the-spot trading on any site that uses it. The deal was rumored to be worth close to $20 million.

Over the coming months, TradingView was particularly focused on adding any financial assets, such as certain U.S. equities, that were still missing on its platform. Furthermore, it continued to grow through partnerships with other brokers, which included TradeStation, Alpaca, OANDA, Gemini, Forex.com, and others.

The team also continued to add new social features. In February 2020, for instance, it announced the launch of Streams, a Twitch-like live streaming feature that allowed influencers to broadcast their trades to other members.

Around that same time, TradingView also became a top 300 global website according to Alexa rankings, boasting more than 10 million monthly visits. To be closer to the action, TradingView also moved its headquarters to London.

The coronavirus pandemic, which forced people across the world into quarantining at home, also led to an exponential surge in financial trading. Platforms like Robinhood and Webull helped onboard tens of millions of new traders with easy-to-use apps.

The heightened interest in retail trading also had secondary benefits for TradingView, which became the undisputed leader not only in the charting space but the world’s most popular finance website. By the end of 2020, its user base had grown to over 130 million people.

Growth continued well into 2021. However, not everyone was taking a liking to the platform’s ever-increasing relevance. In September, the Chinese government blocked access to TradingView (as well as CoinGecko and CoinMarketCap) due to the country’s crackdown on cryptocurrencies.

Despite the small setback, TradingView was able to raise yet another round of funding. In October, Tiger Global Management and others invested $298 million into the company, valuing it at a whopping $3 billion. Recently, in December 2021, the company passed one million paying subscribers.

How Does TradingView Make Money?

TradingView makes money from monthly subscription fees, ads running on its platform, referral fees, as well as licensing fees.

The company operates on a freemium business model, allowing traders to use all essential functionalities without having to pay.

If traders seek access to more sophisticated features, they can opt in to one of the firm’s many subscription plans.

The freemium approach allows TradingView to increase the speed at which it can grow its user base. Furthermore, its users then become advocates for the platform, which increases adoption across retail investors and business customers alike.

With that being said, let’s take a closer look at each of its revenue streams in the section below.

Subscriptions

The vast majority of the revenue that TradingView generates comes from the monthly subscription fees that it charges.

TradingView offers three plans called Pro, Pro+, as well as Premium. The plans cost $14.95, $29.95, and $59.95 per month, respectively (annual pricing is available at discounted rates).

The plans grant users a variety of benefits, such as an ad-free browsing experience, varying amounts of saved charts, access to different charting technologies as well as indicators, pricing alerts, and many more.

Consequently, the subscription plans are aimed at sophisticated traders who, in all likeliness, trade on a full-time basis.

However, by pricing it substantially lower than competing software like Bloomberg Terminal, TradingView is able to attract a much greater number of people to its paid plans.

As previously stated, TradingView also separates itself through the inclusion of a social network. Traders can share tips with each other and engage in a group of like-minded individuals that they previously didn’t have access to.

Advertising

Apart from subscriptions, TradingView is also able to monetize users that do not pay for its premium plans.

It is able to do so through banner ads that are placed throughout its trading platform. Ads are shown within charts as well as in the ideas or comment sections.

Advertisers then compensate TradingView whenever an ad is shown (i.e., impression) or clicked on. Advertising on TradingView offers a multitude of advantages.

For once, the platform is visited over 200 million times per month, with users staying on for an average of about 20 minutes.

Not only is the audience highly engaged but also has a very specific set of interests, namely trading financial assets. This can make TradingView a viable advertising partner for exchanges like FTX or E*Trade, which want to market to that specific audience.

And since ads can be geographically segmented, they can make sure that they only target their intended demographic (in this case the United States).   

Licensing Fees

Another source of income for TradingView comes from the licensing fees paid portals that want to get access to its charts (and financial data at large).

Users on their platforms can interact with the charts, for instance by zooming in or adjusting the date ranges.

Not only is TradingView able to generate revenue from these charting solutions, but it also serves as an additional marketing channel for the platform. That’s because the firm’s name is displayed prominently on the bottom of the chart, allowing visitors to click through the platform.

Referral Fees

Lastly, TradingView also makes money from referral fees that it collects for promoting other brokerages and exchanges.

As previously stated, TradingView allows brokers to be integrated into its platform, which then allows users to place trades directly within TradingView.

On top of that, brokerages will also be able to create their own broker profile, which allows them to share trading ideas, advertise their company, create custom indicators, and communicate with users on the platform.

TradingView, furthermore, hosts annual awards which reward brokers in selected categories such as ‘Social Champion’ or ‘Most Innovative Tech’.  

Whenever a user signs up to a new account and places a trade, TradingView will receive a referral fee for bringing on that additional user.

Additionally, TradingView also charges a subscription fee for varying plans (dubbed Silver, Gold, and Platinum), which enable brokerages to get access to the above-mentioned features.

TradingView Funding, Revenue & Valuation

TradingView, according to Crunchbase, has raised a total of $338.8 million across seven rounds of venture capital funding.

Prominent investors include Tiger Global Management, Insight Partners, DRW Venture Capital, and many others.

TradingView is currently valued at a whopping $3 billion after raising $298 million during a Series C round in October 2021.

The company is currently not disclosing revenue figures to the public. However, during the funding announcement, it stated that revenues for the previous 18 months had increased by 237 percent.

Hi folks, Viktor checking in! Years of experience in various tech-related roles have led me to start this blog, which I hope provides you with as much enjoyment to read as I have writing the content.