In the mid 1800s, Julius Reuter saw opportunity where others saw a problem:
There was a gap between the telegraph lines of Belgium and Germany. So, he
set up a system of carrier pigeons to deliver stock quotes between the two
countries. He knew that financial information needs to be current and
accurate. Of course, Reuters is now a global powerhouse.
With the advent of the Internet, some companies saw an opportunity to
provide better financial content – the type of content which had been only
available to institutional investors. One such company was
, which launched its Web site in February 1998 (the company is
currently on the OTC Bulletin Board).
Since then, the company has developed a variety of real-time investment
tools. For example, FRT2go gives you access to free, unlimited real-time
stock quotes for your Palm (as well as headlines and indexes). There is
Bullsession.com, which is a Java-based TickerTracker. With it, you can do
such things as option chains and exchange statistics.
Unfortunately, financial content plays have been out-of-favor on Wall
Street. Look at the 52-week price range on FreeRealTime.com. The high was
14-1/4 and the low was 2-7/8. The stock currently trades at 4-3/8.
However, the company has been showing strength. In the past quarter, the
company generated revenues of $2.98 million, which was up 98% from the same
period a year ago. Gross profits were $2.09 million. In fact, the company
had a net operating profit of $50,000.
In all, FreeRealTime.com has a registered user base of 1.27 million, which
is up 91% from the same period a year ago. The page-view count is 176
million per month.
FreeRealTime.com also merged with RedChip.com, which is an independent stock
research company that focuses on small caps (the motto is “discovering
tomorrow’s blue chips today”). With the merger, there will be synergies
with FreeRealTime.com’s big user base, but also its real-time information
FreeRealTime.com has been focusing on the right things: building revenues
and moving towards profitability. Also, yesterday the company announced
that it received commitments for financing of more than $10 million. The
lead investor was Jefferies & Co., which is a national institutional
brokerage and investment banking firm. There is also a broad-based strategic
alliance with Jefferies & Co. that includes such things as online public
offerings and private placements. In fact, with the deal, FreeRealTime.com
may be able to be listed on the Nasdaq, which should be a boost to the stock