Currensee Opens Currency-Trader Community, Closes $6M Venture Round

10/20/09Follow @wroush

Boston-based Currensee announced today that it’s opening its online community for foreign currency traders to all comers, after nearly six months of private beta testing. The company also said that it has closed its Series A funding round, raising $6 million from North Bridge Venture Partners in Waltham, MA.

“It’s a major milestone for us,” says Currensee CEO and co-founder Dave Lemont. The company’s motto, he says, is “real trades, real accounts”—meaning that members share information about their actual currency trading, rather than making zero-risk simulated trades as do users of sites like UpDown. And now “the platform is being opened up for anybody to join, as long as they have a brokerage account,” says Lemont.

The idea behind Currensee, as I wrote in an April profile of the startup, is to provide independent currency traders—an excitement-hungry subspecies of day trader—with information, context, and community support. Members link their Currensee profiles directly to their accounts with retail foreign exchange or “forex” brokers such as FXCM, so that other members can see how much they’re putting into various currency-pair trades, in real time.

“This level of transparency of information is what’s completely unique about what Currensee is doing,” says Lemont. “Financial services is ripe with get-rich-quick schemes, but we all know the world doesn’t work that way. Currensee is all about what is your strategy and what were your results…and how to learn from other people.”

Lemont says Currensee gathered about 1,000 users from 60 countries for its beta testing effort. Members are able to choose how much information about their trades is shared, but most beta users have opted to share everything—even data about their losses. “That was the core principle on which we founded the company, so I’m very pleased that it’s been validated,” Lemont says. “People clearly want to share information, and they want a support system, and they want to gain recognition when they’re doing well and they want some help when they’re not doing well.”

The company makes its money on lead generation for forex brokers; every time a Currensee user opens a new account at one of the 40 brokers that the company partners with, it collects a commission. Eventually, Lemont told me last spring, the company may also introduce subscription-based premium information services, such as analytical insights based on aggregate trading data. The site carries no advertising.

Currensee has 20 employees and is still hiring software and quality-assurance engineers, according to Lemont. Word about its Series A round leaked out in mid-2008; reports at the time pegged it at $4 million, but the round was later increased to $6 million, all of which the company has now collected, Lemont says.

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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