CEO Spotlight: Benjamin Bilski On Building The Social Crypto Trading Industry

Social media influencers have arisen in almost every industry, be it food, fitness or fashion. But one of the few areas where influencers have yet to make a name is in the actual money-making industry. NAGA co-founder and CEO Benjamin Bilski aims to change that. 

To be able to follow and even copy the trades that influencers do is just a natural thing to do for me,” Bilski says. “It’s the same as if I eat what my fitness and nutrition idol eats. Hence the community, the experience, and the excitement of autopilot investing. It’s just a beautiful concept that in my opinion will always be relevant.” 

Bilski’s Goal To Build Something Better

Bilski began investing for the first time himself back in 2014 and found that he was quickly out of his depth. Part of the problem, aside from the difficulty of predicting the markets, was that the platforms themselves were all incredibly complex trading terminals. User-friendliness was not a concept and simply didn’t come into it. With his background in e-commerce, Bilski decided the online investing world was in desperate need of a UX fix. Hence, he made it his goal to build something better. 

His main inspiration in building NAGA, believe it or not, was Tinder. While it seems ridiculous, Bilksi set about building an app with a Tinder-like user interface for the trading space, where users would simply swipe left to reject trading ideas or right to accept the ones they liked. Incredibly, the idea found the backing of multiple investors and Bilski’s first product, SwipeStox, was born. 

As SwipeStox grew in popularity, Bilski founded his company NAGA to expand further into the world of fintech, looking to build a full-fledged trading platform. It wasn’t all plain sailing though. He describes platform building as a “super-intense” journey. As NAGA’s platform scaled to more than one million users, It became regulated in hundreds of countries around the world while struggling to provide liquidity for over 1,000 assets, build and run a payments app, and then the more recent addition of cryptocurrency infrastructure on top of that. 

Assuming Leadership Of NAGA

By early 2019 NAGA was struggling financially, forcing Bilski to take over the CEO job to try and save his company from failure. When he first assumed leadership of NAGA, it was constrained by multiple inefficiencies and held back by numerous “weak people” on its staff. Bilski introduced sweeping pragmatic changes both on its team and with its technology. It had an almost instantaneous effect, with NAGA bouncing back to generate its first quarterly profit by Q1 of 2020. 

Bilski said the biggest challenge he faced in building NAGA was the constant struggle to hire the right talent and raise funds. It wasn’t until NAGA achieved its first seven-digit investment that he realised it was going to succeed. 

I won several startup pitch competitions and I understood then this thing can take off,” Bilski related. “There were many situations where people would say it’s impossible to go further, but I knew that what I had as a vision in my mind would work.” 

Hitting Success

These days, Bilski’s vision is really coming together. The previous 12 months were a springboard year for the company having completely restructured its business model in 2019. The company did 400%+ sales growth in 2020 and doubled its revenue again in 2021 while raising close to $100 million in capital and crossing the one million-plus user mark for the first time. 

The CEO said NAGA’s success is due to its unique Autocopy feature and its focus on crypto that has helped to shape the concept of social trading. It’s hard to follow your favourite crypto influencer and mimic their trades,” he said. “So we will combine content, social media and trading in one go. The future is crypto and I am sure our concept will raise awareness and meet a lot of demand.”

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