Deals

Screener.co gives stock trader tools to Joe Blow

Screener.co, a service that features advanced stock trading tools, announced that it is entering a closed beta today at the Launch Conference in San Francisco.

The service is similar to the stock trading tools offered online by Google and Yahoo, but features a some extra technical tools. The software keeps track of around 48,000 companies’ financial information, which range from net income to the number of employees they have. The idea is to match the same kind of information and tools that professional traders get from very expensive trading services like those offered by Bloomberg’s terminals.

Screener.co isn’t designed to give advice about what companies to invest in — just present the information, like other trading tools do, said co-founder Lenny Grover. It’s a lot cheaper than most trading services today — it costs $24.95 a month, compared to the thousands of dollars that terminals or advanced trading software can cost.

But Screener.co did seem mercilessly complicated with a massive number of advanced options for tracking equities and company performance, with no tutorials in sight. The interface was too complex and that would end up hurting the company’s chances of finding investors and potential customers, said Mint.com founder Aaron Patzer.

“You’re targeting the prosumer, not the consumer, and the prosumer is almost impossible to find,” Patzer said. “The way to go in this market is not more complex, it’s simpler.”

The company is targeting casual traders — the 14 percent of households that have invested anywhere from $100,000 to $1 million in public stocks, Grover said. A fifth of those traders don’t employ a financial adviser through companies like Charles Schwab, and just do the trading on their own using services like Google and Yahoo Finance. The site is also in a free public beta until April 1.

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