Buy! Sell! Get A Grip: Interview With Inovance Founder Justin Cahoon

Risk. Who wouldn’t try to grow wealth by trading in the market if not for that humongous elephant in the room? Knowledge and experience help lessen risk, but they have their weaknesses.


Inovance is a financial technologies startup that equips traders with tools to test their ideas before money is on the line. A patented, quantitative analysis platform allows people to build, try out, and evaluate strategies, then make decisions based on human judgment and software intelligence. Co-founder Justin Cahoon tells us more:


What’s your company about? What do you do? Who are your customers?

Inovance Financial Technologies builds software that helps you manage the financial markets. With TRAID™, combine machine intelligence with your trading experience to become a better trader. Sign up today as a beta tester and take your intuitions to the next level. Rapidly build, test, and deploy your trading ideas. Inovance’s TRAID™ is a quantitative analysis platform that assists in all aspects of the trade lifecycle. Quickly and easily use your market intuitions and experiences to build and test machine learning-based strategies in a user-friendly environment. Optimize the strategies and implement portfolio-wide risk and money management parameters to create real-time decision support tools or an adaptive, fully-automated portfolio of strategies.






What’s the greatest thing about your company/website? Why is it better than the competition?

We give some seriously powerful analytical tools to traders in an easy-to-use interface.


How’d you come up with the name for your company?

Innovative + Finance = Inovance


What was your first computer? How old were you when you first got on the world wide web?

Oooo great question! My first computer was a Gateway that my brother, who introduced me to the tech world, assembled from Newegg for Christmas one year. Not sure what was in it at the time, I was 9 years old. Soon after I was dialing up and logging into AIM!


What time do you usually start work each day? How many hours a day do you usually work?

I start at 9 and go until 7 or 8.






When do your best ideas come to you? In bed in the morning? During dinner? On your third beer?

Right in the middle of the day or late at night.


How many people did you start the company with and how many people work for you now?

We started with 3 and we now have 7.


Remember the early days of starting up? Describe the struggles you went through.

Oh yes. It was beans and rice for a long time. My girlfriend paid for everything. No going out to eat. Lived in a small two bedroom, mooching, even more, off my girlfriend.


How do you handle frustration? What has been your biggest professional frustration?

I try to approach the problem in a more clear, direct and concise way. My biggest professional frustration is not getting a response after carefully crafting an email or message.






What’s your office environment like? Do you listen to music? Watch movies? Play video games?

We are all remote. I listen to music when I am not video calling.


How do you picture your company in 5 years?

In 5 years we plan to offer a variety of financial software to investors from HFT to long-term investments.


Who or what inspires YOU? Role models? Quotes? Running? Video games? Snack food?

I am a big fan of Richard Branson, Guy Kawasaki, and TED talks. Innovative technology gets me excited.


How’d you fund this venture? VC? Self-funding? Crowdfunded?

So far we have raised money from friends, family, and angels.






Got any great bootstrapping tips for the lean startups out there?

Don’t pay for any software services. You do not need it… There are so many free resources and, as a startup, your focus will shift every day. Learn to code, too. It will help you enormously.


What other advice do you have for other entrepreneurs struggling to get started?

Reach out! More people want to help you than you can imagine. Go to Meetups and send LinkedIn messages.


What would you do if you had a year off and $500,000 to spend (on something other than work)?

I would spend it with my girlfriend touring Europe.


Do you consider yourself a successful entrepreneur? If not, what’ll make you feel successful?

I do. We have accomplished an enormous amount and we are just getting started. If you keep pushing and listening to your elders, anyone would be considered a successful entrepreneur.


Top 5 websites you couldn’t live without and why?

  1. Google. I google everything.
  2. I love chess but I am still learning.
  3. Where would I be without my hosting service?
  4. I don’t use any other source for music.
  5. Sometimes you need a laugh in your day.


Top 5 mobile apps you’re in love with and why?

  1. chess – entertain and test your brain all day with real people.
  2. gmail – nothing beats waking up to your inbox.
  3. bbc news – know what’s going on in the world.
  4. flashlight – helps me find my way in dark places.
  5. TED – late-night inspiration.


What is your music streaming player of choice, and what are you listening to right now?

Macklemore and Lorde


Number 1 country you’ve always wanted to visit but haven’t yet? (And why that country?)

Italy. Lot of ancestry from Italy. Tons of cousins to show me around.


Please share some specific numbers (funding, revenue, visitors) that highlight your growth.

$75k of $650 raised in this seed round. Working with a large fund to continue developing.


For more information, check out Inovance on Facebook and Twitter.


Photo Credits

Justin Cahoon | Inovance