MarketSnacks Makes Wall Street News Fun

MarketSnacks is a daily finance newsletter for millennials, by millennials. It seeks to make Wall Street news brief, clear, and entertaining.

Co-founders and best friends Nick Martell, a first year MBA at the University of Pennsylvania, and Jack Kramer, a first year MBA at the University of Michigan, were recently featured in Forbes 30 under 30 (hey, sliding in at 29 is the way to go)!

In light of the buzz, I sat down with the co-founders to hear their story and their vision for MarketSnacks.

Let’s face it — financial news can be pretty freaking boring.

That’s what Nick Martell realized in July 2011 when he started his first job as an asset manager at UBS (#financebro). Part of Nick’s job was to keep up with the happenings on the Street, which included staying on top of what was reported in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and other publications.

Even though Martell, a history major at Brown, worked in finance and loved to read and write, he found himself bored reading this type of news.

The compelling story on, say, the Microsoft acquisition of Yammer was buried within dozens of stories that — quite frankly — he found difficult to engage with as a millennial.

Martell noted that “even topics that I found fascinating, like the European Debt Crisis that was ongoing at the time, were written about in such a dry, traditional tone that they lost my attention before I could finish the articles.”

When he complained about this to his best friend Jack over a beer, it struck a chord. The duo then decided to launch MarketSnacks.

How It Works

In a newsletter format, MarketSnacks covers 2–3 engaging stories each day.

“As a media company in a fragmented media landscape, we make Wall Street headlines and concepts accessible in a fun and simple way,” says Kramer.

The title of last Tuesday’s newsletter? Earth’s Most Expensive Chicken Wing (accompanied by the photo below)…

Screenshot from last Tuesday’s newsletter

That was enough to grab my attention (perhaps because I love chicken wings!) — and it was certainly different than the headline on the Wall Street Journal.

Both stories were covering Roark Capital’s $2.3 billion bid for Buffalo Wild Wings.

How Do They Make Money?

MarketSnacks makes money two ways.

First, they syndicate content. “Just a year after launching, Motley Fool reached out because they were having trouble reaching the millennial audience that we were so effectively engaging with,” says Martell.

That’s when they began syndicating their content to bigger media brands like Yahoo Finance, Motley Fool, and Fidelity.

They also sponsor brands that are relevant to their millenial, young professional audience in their newsletter content.

Challenges Ahead

MarketSnacks is first and foremost a newsletter. But what’s next?

Today’s consumers of digital news are increasingly preferring video content. While tech titans Facebook and LinkedIn encourage their users to push out video content, digital media publications will need to catch up to this too.

Like the true millennials they are, the MarketSnacks founders are on top of this innovation. They have begun doing monthly TV appearances on CBS, Nasdaq, and Cheddar.

MarketSnacks co-founders Jack Kramer (left) and Nick Martell (right) on Nasdaq

While video creates new opportunities for MarketSnacks, it also brings challenges.

As news consumption continues to shift to video, MarketSnacks will need to maintain a unique, fresh voice and perspective amidst all of the noise. Additionally, a shift to video will impact the revenue model, as the channels for sponsored content and syndication will change.

Side Hustle Entrepreneurs

US-based print news is a $30 billion industry — which includes revenue from both paper and digital consumption. Revenues from digital channels are projected to grow by 9.8% through 2020.

However, financial news comprises only a small portion of that overall industry size and — perhaps most importantly — MarketSnacks is more of a supplement (rather than a replacement) for existing news sources like the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.

That may be why the MarketSnacks founders dubbed themselves “side hustle entrpreneurs.”

#Goals

Despite having full-time jobs, Martell and Kramer have been running MarketSnacks for 6 years. They haven’t hired anyone to help — and they haven’t missed a single day of market action since launching in 2011.

Now that’s side hustle committment.

Since it began syndicating its content, the company has been fully profitable — unlike most VC-backed startups that often focus on growth over profitability. As the MarketSnacks founders see it, a stable, profitable business is a solid outcome too.

Yet that doesn’t mean the team doesn’t hope to scale.

“Testimonials from readers who ‘finally understand what’s up with Chipotle’s stock’ or ‘got the Morgan Stanley internship because of MarketSnacks’ made us realize this was a media company we could grow big — and they’re what power us daily,” says Kramer.

As long as these entrepreneurs keep their side hustle up, I know I’ll keep on reading.

Feel free to check out MarketSnacks and subscribe here.

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