Former Admiral Markets CEO Elina Pedersen and Alpari founder Andrey Vedikhin found leisure activity site ActivityFan.com
ActivityFan.com is a marketplace for people to upload and search for specific leisure pursuits, however its founders are straight from the retail FX industry, those being Elina Pedersen, former CEO of Admiral Markets, and Dr Andrey Vedikhin, owner and co-founder of Alpari
Leisure activities have become not only a luxury these days, but a rapidly expanding commercial opportunity, largely as a result of portals that are specific to aggregating targeted activities and events that are specific to those in search of entertainment in a world where everyone is on the move.
Last year, in London, ActivityFan.com was established, its ethos being to establish a marketplace for people to list and find leisure activities online.
Interestingly, its founders are two FX industry executives, married couple Elina Pedersen and Dr Andrey Vedikhin, whose wedding was in Montenegro in June this year.
Dr. Vedikhin is a well known figure in the retail FX industry, having co-founded Russian electronic trading firm Alpari in 1998, owning the company for 16 years until his exit in 2015.
Elina Pedersen was CEO of Estonian FX brokerage Admiral Markets between 2012 and 2015, when she left her executive position at the firm to concentrate on establishing ActivityFan, retaining a non-executive board appointment at Admiral Markets which she holds currently.
Before becoming CEO at Admiral Markets, Ms Pedersen was Advertising Manager as her inaugural position at the firm, becoming Chief Marketing Officer between September 2011 before being promoted to CEO.
This is an interesting and unusual diversion from the FX industry for these two senior executives, and represents a great rarity in this business which has a very high retention of talent ratio, many people in senior positions being extremely dedicated to the FX industry and taking a long term career orientated view.
For Dr Vedikhin, that is certainly the case as 16 years at Alpari is a substantial period of time, however a diversion into a new FinTech-orientated e-commerce portal which has a social element shares more with the ethos behind other marketplaces such as Airbnb or ebay than a specific service provided directly to customers by a commercial entity.
This dynamic reflects the changes in career of two other significant industry executives this year, one being MarketsPulse founder and former CEO Rachely Esman, who embarked on her next venture, under the name of Wescover, in San Francisco, California which is the heartland of technological innovation, Ms. Esman’s native Tel Aviv coming a close second.
The ethos of Ms. Esman’s new startup Wescover is that the company enables digital discovery of the physical world around us. Ms. Esman considers the drive to discover more about our world to be innate within all of us, and on that basis the company enables users to feed that curiosity with the richness of online content.
Ms. Esman presided over MarketsPulse for five and a half years, from its establishment in January 2010 until July last year when she stood down as CEO, and was superseded by Michael Winitsky, who joined the firm from the online gaming sector.
Since graduating from London’s prestigious Kings College with a degree in Classics, Latin and Ancient Greek in 2010, Hannah Ward spent three years at British spread betting and CFD company CMC Markets, however just a year ago, a completely new break marked her career.
Ms. Ward, who left CMC Markets in October 2013 founded a new company in San Francisco, California, whose raison d’etre is a polar opposite to the FX industry.
The new company, which was launched last week under the name of SNOFUR, is a retail and consumer merchandise firm that sells clothing for outdoor winter activities, especially skiing.
Whilst FX traders can catch a cold if they forget to set their stop loss, it seems that Ms. Ward is well aware that those engaging in outdoor pursuits can also catch a cold if they forget to don their hat, gloves and jackets.
With an emphasis on style, SNOFUR’s products are clearly aimed at those wishing to cut a dash on the slopes, which is not surprising considering Ms. Ward’s experience in brand positioning and understanding how to attract customers in a crowded marketplace.
London’s spread betting and CFD industry is unique in the respect that it is very London-centric not only in terms of companies competing for business from retail customers, but also in terms of the location of client base, which is also predominantly located in Britain which is where CFD and spread betting platforms are the norm compared to spot FX everywhere else globally.
At CMC Markets, Ms Ward began her tenure as Customer Management Executive in August 2010, before progressing to become Business Operations Analyst in June 2011.
From September 2011 until February 2012, Ms. Ward was Community Manager, before moving up to become Customer Quality Assurance Manager in February 2012. She concluded her tenure in October 2013, by which time she had become Brand Campaign Manager.
Indeed, it’ll take something more powerful than Japanese candlesticks to melt through the snow that Ms. Ward’s new product range has been designed to weather!
Featured photograph: Andrey Vedikhin and Elina Pedersen at their wedding in June 2016