BBC Dragon’s Den star Steven Bartlett, has launched Flight Story- a world-first in-house communication and talent platform that provides public companies with the people, process and technology they need to build a resilient retail investor community around their story.
As the founder of Social Chain, which now has a market valuation of over $600m (£454m), Bartlett has teamed up with Oliver Yonchev, former Managing Director of Social Chain, to utilise tech to build businesses.
A new generation of investors have come together to create a new paradigm shift in investing as a whole, a generation who has both the appetite and tools to buy and sell company stocks from the palm of their hand, and social media communities have become the most effective way to inform their investing decisions.
According to the London Stock Exchange, there has been over 100 per cent increase in US retail trading from 2019 to 2021, which means retail traders now account for almost as much volume as mutual and hedge funds combined. This is expected to continue growing as 30m US retail investing accounts opened in the first 12 months of the pandemic.
Retail traders gaining influence was spotlighted last year during the Reddit and GameStop saga , where we saw retail investors in the “wallstreetbets” Reddit chat room unite, acting as a union by piling into shares and calling options. This resulted in GameStop stock rising 1,500% in just two weeks and a major hedge fund that had bet against GameStop head for bankruptcy.
“I feel like I had no choice but to launch Flight Story,” said the Dragon’s Den star. “Over the last two years I’ve been peppered with phone calls at an alarming and increasing rate, from pre-IPO and post-IPO companies that were starting to realise that if they didn’t have a social media and communications strategy in place, or the right talent in-house, there was a existential risk to their IPOs. It might sound crazy, but I had phone calls from family offices that were telling me they now believe a successful TikTok strategy could sway their market cap by billions!”
Something that Flight Story wants to hammer home is that public companies need to understand the value of social media, and the shift represents a whole range of opportunities and challenges.
“Today companies that can effectively tell their story at scale on social platforms win, and those that don’t fail. We know that telling stories on the internet is a modern day superpower for those with expertise and willingness to do so. It sounds crazy, but I would bet against any public company that doesn’t have someone in their business that understands the power of TikTok”, urged Bartlett.
Seeing the traditional agency model as “broken”, with unfair retainer fees and disincentives success, Flight Story aims to be a people-driven company, using experts to drive results for companies.
Flight Story is already on track to deliver eight figure revenues in its first year, having generated more than £6m in revenue in its first two months.