Five Questions with 6ix CEO Daniel Barankin

June 4, 2023

6ix is a Toronto-based software company, operating a platform that allows investors to connect with the management team at companies in Canada and around the world. They’re also a member of the Council of Canadian Innovators.

Through their platform, they host investor events and webcasts, and post financial information. Last year 6ix was viewed by more than 32 million potential investors. Recently, CEO Daniel Barankin connected with CCI President Benjamin Bergen to talk about the company, the investment landscape, and how the company is deploying artificial intelligence.

This transcript has been edited for length and clarity.

Benjamin Bergen:

Thanks so much for taking the time to chat, Daniel. For starters, tell me about 6ix. What’s the overall idea behind your product?

Daniel Barankin:

Absolutely. So, has been built on the thesis that people should be part of building the future, and that the greatest path towards socioeconomic mobility is by being able to participate in how the world around us gets built.

Looking at the past two decades, it became exceptionally clear that there’s been an emergence of two economies. You have the economy of individuals that are earning salaries where since 1974, wages have been rising remarkably slowly. And simultaneously, if you look at the economy of assets, whether it’s equities, whether it’s houses, or whether it’s even if you look at some of the different alternative assets, all these assets seem to be going up.

It became incredibly obvious to us that the people that were playing the game of investing were dramatically outperforming those that weren’t. And the challenge of playing the game of investing is that it’s very difficult to get involved in space. There’s been a proliferation of tools like Robinhood, Wealthsimple and Questrade, but actual access that institutional investors have — Warren Buffett, for example, can very easily call up the CEO of any company and get them on the phone call — the ordinary person like you or myself, can’t do that.

So what 6ix does, is a level playing field. Anyone, anywhere in the world, is able to get direct access to the CEO and management team of any company in the world, and do so through these live virtual events, where they can ask questions and interact.


That’s a good way of helping understand the platform. Now, looking at the website, and looking at where business seems to be most active, it does seem to be in the mining sector. Can you talk a little bit about that, and how that happened?


Absolutely. One of the most important aspects of the Canadian economy is the metals and mining sector. On the TSX, it represents about 1,300 companies, or just north of 25% of all companies.

Ultimately, the ambition for 6ix is to allow any investor to connect with any company anywhere. We began in the metals and mining sector, and the idea there is: Let’s go and be very successful in one place, and then expand it to every place.

Today, we’ve had over 300 public companies that have used our platform —all in the metals and mining sector — we have over 1700 institutional investors, and importantly, over 100,000 registered investors like you or myself. And we’ve reached over 32 million investors worldwide. And all of that to date has been in the metals and mining sector.

What’s really exciting is that this year, in particular, we’re beginning to open up our platform to anyone. And so what that means is today, if you are a company in any space — technology, pharma, anything at all — you can go on our website, and create an event for free. And you can invite all of the investors that you think should attend. We’ll syndicate it across our website and invite all the investors in our ecosystem. And in that way, we can realize our ambition of connecting every company and every investor and doing so totally for free.


Okay, interesting. So what does the platform look like from the company side? And what does it look like from the investor side?


An investor such as yourself can go onto our website, and you can do a number of things. You can type in the name of any company, and immediately access all of their financial information, their P&L statements, balance sheets, all the stuff that historically you’d have to pay tens of thousands of dollars a year to access, you can do for free. And we’re adding more and more value as every week goes by. In addition to that, you can also see the live content that’s being scheduled or that’s actually happening right now by the companies, and you can join into those events. You can have live Q&A sessions, you can engage with the CEOs of companies.

My favorite thing is often finding the companies that I already follow, and just having conversations with them about design choices or decisions that they made in their company’s performance. And oftentimes, because it’s a live interactive conversation, it’s really, really interesting.

On the company side today, any company is able to go and host an event; it’s totally free to put together an event.

Where we monetize the distribution piece. I mentioned earlier that last year, we reached 32 million investors. We did that by building one of the most powerful advertising networks in the world that’s specifically designed to help companies do corporate communications. Unlike Facebook, or Google, or Amazon, where it’s largely based around advertising to consumers, our network is specifically designed to do advertising to investors.

So for instance, if you have a press release, or if you have an exciting investment thesis, you would use our service to publish that. That’s where we monetize. We also provide a number of additional tools to companies. For example, we released an AI tool that allows public companies to actually create press releases with it. So if you’re a company, and you have a history of press releases you’ve issued in the past, with a few clicks you can upload that archive of press releases, use our software to automatically create your next press release — whether it’s an earnings announcement, or a product launch, or anything like that — we will create that press release using our artificial intelligence software.

All of these things are built so that companies are able to be more open and transparent with the world around them, while reducing the amount of time it takes them to engage with the many, many, many masses of investors.


Now, the last few years have been more than a little bit turbulent. You’ve got meme stocks, what’s happening with crypto, now we’ve seen increased interest rates and lots of question marks around where investing is going. How’s that playing out for 6ix?


So, we’ve definitely seen a lot of interest from investors all around the world, accessing companies, and in particular, accessing equities. I think that there’s been a detour over the last few years, where investing has become just gambling and speculation for many peoople. And there’s aspects of that that are good, insofar as people are beginning to enter into the financial world of capital markets for the first time. But that’s not really investment. That’s trading.

Where 6ix thrives is the idea of making long-term investments — the idea of identifying companies, evaluating the real potential and risk of each of these companies, and arriving at informed decisions. So 6ix is not a platform where you would day trade. It’s just not built for that. It’s a platform where you want to come together with management teams, build a real relationship with those teams, learn from them, as they educate you about the industry, and in turn, teach them as you educate them about what you’re looking for.

That’s what’s so unique about our community, because it’s not about day trading, typically investors that are investing in any company, they’d find on 6ix, typically they are in it for the long run.


You talked about AI, in terms of helping around communications products. We’re in this AI buzz cycle right now. How do you think this will impact investors? And how are you charting a course for 6ix?


I think that with AI, it’s like any other tool. It dramatically improves productivity. We’re at a point today, where, because of how fresh and new AI is, there’s a gap between the early adopters and the late adopters.

Ultimately, AI is going to be ubiquitous in terms of how we use everything today. For example, we use API’s to go and allow machines to talk to other machines in the background. Thirty, forty, fifty years ago, it was humans physically delivering mail to each other. Now humans interface with machines and APIs to deliver email. Artificial Intelligence is just a further step beyond the machine to machine space, where it’s able to do things beyond the direct explicit commands. So you can give it more general commands, and it can then go and perform things that you wouldn’t expect, but you still want.

And so we’re at a point today, in my point of view, where individuals that start leveraging and using AI early, will experience dramatic improvements in their productivity. And those improvements in their productivity will result in greater value that they can create for themselves — for their careers, for their employers, for the economy, and ultimately for the customers that they serve.

I’m very optimistic around AI. And part of why we built our AI tool for investor relations professionals, is that oftentimes the people that are the earliest adopters are the youngest generation. And I think with AI, there’s actually a huge value for older generations that have a tremendous amount of domain specific expertise to become the most proficient users of AI. And I think that’s going to be very good for productivity.

What’s more, there’s this fear that the robots are coming for our jobs. But those fears are, for the most part, unfounded.

From a demographics perspective, the greatest crisis we have, whether it’s in Canada, or the United States, is that we’re declining in our population, from a population pyramid perspective. There are fewer people of working age, there are fewer people that can contribute to the economy. So we would be in a far worse situation, if we don’t make these enhancements with technology.

If we have fewer people producing comparable amounts, we’re going to have less as a society. The only way to maintain or improve our quality of living, while having a decline in the working population is to become more productive. And that’s what AI and tools are contributing to the world.

The Council of Canadian Innovators is a national business council of more than 150 scale-up technology companies headquartered in Canada. Our members are job-creators, philanthropists and leading commercialization experts in the 21st century digital economy.


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