In 2019, entrepreneur Kurt Lingohr’s company in the car-sharing space was acquired.

After taking a year off post-acquisition he got the “start-up itch” again. His new project Bullseye – a HotCopper alternative — allows him to combine love of the markets with the grittiness of a tech start-up, he says.

Bullseye will be rolled out initially via an invite only ‘soft launch’ in the coming weeks and months.

Lingohr spoke with Stockhead about why the timing is right to build a platform “that gets back to the basics of why people visit discussion forums in the first place”.

Kurt Lingohr.

Others have tried to beat HotCopper at their game, and ostensibly failed. What makes the Bullseye stock discussion forum any different?

“We have what is dubbed a second mover advantage,” Lingohr says.

“It is incredibly hard to claw market share from a powerful incumbent and we are fully aware of the road ahead of us.”

“Whilst it is hard, it is doable if you follow the playbook and carefully execute the right strategy, which we have spent six months designing.”

“Think iPhone versus Nokia and Blackberry; Facebook versus Myspace and Friendster; Airbnb versus Hilton and Marriott; Uber versus taxis; Amazon versus, well, the rest of the world!”

“I can’t really talk to beating HotCopper at their game, because they (The Market Herald) are playing their game with their own strategy of a global news network and advisory services.”

“We have our own five-year plan, which starts with a building a great stock discussion platform.”

“Just like Steve Jobs didn’t design a better Nokia phone with slightly fewer buttons, or Airbnb didn’t design a better hotel. Our strategy is relatable, but tangentially different.”

“First, we are 100% laser-beam focused on the user. The user is critical to everything we plan and do and is the fundamental reason why we exist – our core value. Our mission is to help people become better investors. It’s our Why.”

“Second, we are building a platform that we think people are going to love. How? Because the survey results told us what people are looking for in a new platform and the feedback we have received in talking with others is that the timing is right, even when confirmation bias is accounted for.”

“We will continue to seek feedback even after launch and regularly release improvements through a software development methodology called Scrum.”

“Third, we have mapped out a strategy for the dreaded empty restaurant syndrome. Nobody likes dining in an empty restaurant and forums are no different in this regard. This was the green light for me to proceed – doomed to fail otherwise.”

“Lastly, humility and patience. We know our place in the world, we know it is not going to be easy and will probably take several years to get a good foothold after we cross the chasm of early adopters to ‘main street’.”

“We have a rock-solid strategy, are well funded with very low cash burn rate and we are not in a hurry to become profitable.”

“As a private company we have years of runway to let the strategy work its magic without having to worry about quarterly reports to shareholders.”

“Just to be clear, we don’t see it as a winner takes all model. HotCopper will always have some role to play as a research tool, just like Reddit, Discord, Facebook and Twitter.”


You recently announced on Twitter that you would be seed funding Bullseye. Tell us about that.

“The decision to provide the seed capital of $1m was to give us several years of runway and clear air to let the strategy work,” Lingohr says.

“Also, as a declaration to the sceptics that we are committed to becoming Australia’s new #1 stock discussion site, even if that takes years.”

“Like any venture or investment, I do expect a return some day and there is a five-year vision on what that looks like, which we can’t share right now.”


What will the Bullseye stock discussion forum look like at launch, and when will that be?

“We’ve been working really hard the past few months on coding a brand-new platform from scratch using a modern technology stack,” Lingohr says.”

“Our vision for the five-year plan necessitated building our own platform rather than rebadging a traditional forum software package. We are really excited at how fast it is coming together.”

“In the coming weeks and months, we will soft-launch a beta version to our mailing list and social media followers on an invite-only basis, then progressively roll that out to more of our community as we iron out the kinks.”

“During the soft launch we will be rapidly iterating improvements and bug fixes in response to feedback from our beta users.”

“The soft launch will allow us to battle-harden our basic building blocks – the reputation system called Karma with upvotes and downvotes; Blocking users like how Twitter does; Testing what we hope will be an open, fair and transparent moderation process and honing our internal processes for dealing with the inevitable legal correspondence.”

“Once the basics are bedded in, we can look ahead to our product roadmap, which includes some great additions.”

“Such as IR tools to get progressive companies more involved with the retail investor segment, direct messaging, closed private groups hosted on our infrastructure and a Content Creators Program to financially reward those who produce outstanding content with premium memberships.”

By upvoting and downvoting could you be giving rampers and pump crews free reign?

“That is a real concern faced by all social media platforms and one we are taking very seriously,” Lingohr says.

“Left unchecked this would result in a poor user experience, which is against our core value.”

“We believe the issue is addressable with algorithms and machine learning to identify users acting in concert and multiple ‘sock puppet’ accounts – a problem faced by all types of social media platforms.”

“The algorithm could, in theory, apply different weightings to votes. An upvote from User A may not carry the same potency of a vote from User B, for example.”

“We cannot eliminate the problem entirely – no platform can – but we can commit to improving the model over time.”