NAGA founder Ben Bilski steps down following acquisition

Ben Bilski, German tech entrepreneur and founder of NAGA Group, has parted ways with the company, stepping down from his executive role as Chief Information Officer.

The move comes three months after the acquisition of NAGA Group, a provider of brokerage services, cryptocurrency platform NAGAX and neo-banking app NAGA Pay, by Bilski, a Polish/German serial tech entrepreneur, established NAGA as a social network for investing. The platform now boasts nearly 1 million users.

Before transitioning to the role of CIO, Bilski served as NAGA’s Chief Executive Officer until June 2023. During his tenure as CEO, he aimed to simplify the investment process for new users by integrating a social component that allows them to copy professional traders’ strategies while learning about the markets.

Bilski described NAGA as the “Facebook for the trading industry,” seeking to eliminate the necessity for users to navigate multiple platforms for trading and investment strategy research, offering a more streamlined and user-friendly experience.

Interestingly, Bilski credits not Facebook but Tinder as the initial inspiration for NAGA’s concept, spurred by his personal challenges with the complexity of online trading platforms he encountered starting in 2014.

Bilski wrote on his Linkedin profile: “Even though as core founder, I never owned more than 10% of NAGA. I treated it as if it’s all mine and have shown always 100% full-scale commitment towards my job. Sometimes, I loaded a bit too much on my shoulders. I can’t hide the fact that such limited ownership makes you then rethink future perspectives, but that’s how business is!”Top of Form

NAGA has recently made a series of new additions to its top management team, hiring new executives for key leadership positions, with Michael Milonas taking on the role of Group CEO. Additionally, NAGA appointed Sam Chaney as the Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), responsible for driving global growth in emerging markets.

For the 2023 financial year, the group’s brokerage business revenue was reported at €45.5 million. This figure represents a +20 percent decline from the previous year’s revenue of €57.6 million. However, the company’s EBITDA showed a marked improvement, reaching around €7 million, a sharp contrast to the previous year’s loss of €-13.7 million.

Following a restructuring in the summer, NAGA decreased its cost base by nearly two thirds when compared with the same period in the year earlier whilst keeping new customer growth above 2022 levels.

Meanwhile, the broker optimized its user acquisition strategy, drastically reducing its marketing and sales spending. In the first nine months of 2022, the company spent approximately €26 million, while in 2023, this figure was trimmed to just €4 million for the same period. Notably, the average net acquisition cost per new account dropped from €1,269 in 2022 to €181 in 2023. Despite the reduced budget, NAGA Group acquired around 10,000 new funded accounts in the first three quarters of 2023, only 19% less than the previous year.