When Sami Osman graduated from university in Sweden, he wasn’t sure what kind of career he wanted. After getting a job as an accountant—then quitting—he decided to start day-trading to pass time while he looked for something more fitting, and he quickly found a community of like-minded investors on Twitter.
While day trading, Osman became frustrated by how difficult it was to access earning calls: He had to dial in live, which tied up his phone line. If he couldn’t attend the call, there was no way to listen to a recording afterwards. In addition, finding investor information often required scouring company websites. Osman decided solving this problem would be his new job. In 2020, he launched Quartr with four other founders he’d met on Twitter, including Oliver Hamrin, who had 30,000 followers on the platform, and Oscar Kuntzel, a former kindergarten classmate with whom he had reconnected on Twitter.
“It took us seven months to meet physically,” Osman says. “But they know me better than I know myself.”
Quartr is an investors-relations app that seeks to take the pain out of finance for both investors and companies. It contains recordings and transcripts of earnings calls, and it centralizes company investor documents in one place. Within its first week, Quartr had 8,000 downloads. Initially, Osman and his team had created Quartr for individual investors who don’t have the deep pockets to afford subscriptions to Factiva or FactSet or a Bloomberg terminal. Such services can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars a month, depending on the plan.
However, Quartr’s popularity grew beyond individual investors. Early on, institutional investors from JPMorgan and BlackRock began to sign up. Meanwhile, companies started reaching out to Quartr, asking to be able to upload their own presentations and get data about how many users were listening to their calls.
Today, Quartr has centralized investing information on 7,000 different companies, while 55 are uploading their own information. In addition, Quartr has $6.1 million in funding, 150,000 active users, and 34 employees. Osman is targeting 1 million active users by next year and hopes to keep scaling up from there.
A future fueled by AI
Going forward, Osman wants to build tech tools that can help individual investors. For instance, Quartr already has an AI solution that transcribes calls, and the team wants to build another that highlights keywords so investors can easily understand trends. “We want to create an ecosystem where investors can interact easily with companies,” Osman says.
As for how to continue growing a company that started on Twitter, Osman is so used to the dynamic that it takes him a few minutes to realize how unusual it is—and that other managers and founders struggling in a remote environment might want his advice.
“Fun comes from flexibility,” he says. “If people feel like they are working for themselves, they become 10 times more creative.”
He points out some members of his team are at the gym by 6 a.m. and at their best at 8 a.m., while others are morning zombies who perform better at noon. “You have to respect those differences,” he says.
He also stresses that it’s important not to micromanage: “It’s a mistake to try to steer every detail in the direction you want.” Instead, he recommends hiring someone excellent and trusting them. “If you hire someone good to build a car and try to tell them how to do it, the car won’t be good,” he says. “But if you give them freedom, they’ll build something far better than your vision.”