NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- So you want access to real-time financial data like investment professionals get, but your budget doesn't cover an extra $2,000 a month?
You're just the customer that Money.Net is designed for, says CEO Morgan Downey. The service, which costs $95 a month or $950 for a full year, is designed to bring real-time financial data to the masses by making it more affordable, and it already counts both individual investors and professionals among its clients.
If it succeeds, Downey's strategy would broaden an already lucrative market for financial data and news. Global spending on such services grew 4% last year to $26.5 billion, with Bloomberg holding 32% of the market and Thomson Reuters coming in second with 26%, according to Burton-Taylor International Consulting, which tracks trends in the market.
"The whole dynamic for this industry, the market for market data, is changing very rapidly," Downey said. For decades, financial professionals from day traders to portfolio managers have accessed real-time market data on equities, fixed income and derivatives pricing and valuations through terminals like the Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters' (TRI - Get Report) Eikon.
Bloomberg charges about $2,000 a month, while Thomson Reuters offers packages that generally range from $300 to $2,000 a month, depending on the services customers want. Bloomberg's financial data revenue of $8.48 billion last year compared with $6.86 billion at Thomson Reuters, according to Burton-Taylor.
Users "can now get the same information, and it's very often even better information than on those legacy products," Downey said. Representatives of Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg, founded by billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, declined to comment.
Downey is no stranger to data terminals, having worked on terminal development for Bloomberg, where he specialized in commodities, as well as on trading desks at Citibank, Bank of America and Standard Chartered.
"We don't want to have the same content as Thomson Reuters or Bloomberg," Downey said. "We want to build, and are building, a better product."
The New York-based company declined to release sales figures, but said it's targeting a customer base of 500,000 or more including advisers, wealth management firms and hedge funds.
Money.Net offers users a customizable desktop with drag-and-drop modules, sharing capability for screens, views and tabs, and a "TV Clipster" that allows monitoring of nearly 1,000 financial stations in real-time. A chat function is powered by Symphony, a company backed by large banks including Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase that provides secure messaging services.
Institutional broker Nicolas Katsiyianis said he has found Money.Net useful, but he still wants real-time price quotes for stocks outside the U.S. and more sources for news.
"I would recommend it for investors that work from home" but not for users who need more speed, he said. Katsiyianis still likes the Bloomberg, whose "presentation seems smoother," he said.
Global real-time quotes will be added by early October, a Money.net spokesperson said that, noting that the company updates its platform regularly.
Money.Net's platform is simpler to use than the Bloomberg's terminal, said another customer, Alex Mascioli, CEO of North Street Global Fund Services. His employees initially had difficulty accessing some of the data they needed, but the Money.Net staff responded immediately with new tools and enhancements.
"Once we worked with them to configure the different options that they needed to add for different processes, it was an easy decision from our standpoint to switch over to Money.Net from Bloomberg," Mascioli said, whose company has been using Money.Net since January.
As the company expands its "compelling product" in the coming years, the global market will question why Bloomberg and Reuters are charging such high prices, Downey said.
"Historically, that data has not been available to retail investors," he said, "and we're opening that market up to those kind of customers."