Survival Tips for Fintech Startups as the Herd Thins


Article by Penny Crosman

Enthusiasm for certain fintech investments is said to be cooling among venture capitalists and private-equity firms already.

So the natural question is, how can enterprising online lenders and other startups survive, much less grow?

We put several entrepreneurs and experts on the spot at the Empire Startups Fintech Conference last week in New York. Here is a roundup of their advice.

1. Spend cautiously. "As a startup, you have to use your cash wisely," said Stephane Dubois, the chief executive and founder of the market data API company Xignite, which recently completed a $20.5 million funding round. "You don't want to run out, especially as it's probably going to get harder and harder to raise [money] in the second half of the year."

One common mistake: startups often spend too much on office space. "You'll probably regret spending so much money on just getting an office, later on," he said.

2. Geography matters. Matthew Harris, managing director at Bain Capital Ventures, said he always asks out-of-town startup entrepreneurs why they are not based in New York. "Many defining companies are in New York," he said. "New York has so many incumbent advantages for fintech companies."

Pascal Bouvier, venture partner with Santander InnoVentures, agreed. "I would love to say geography is not a vector of success in this day and age where we're connected 24/7 anywhere on the planet, but it is," he said. "The network value of being in a large city cannot be quantified. In financial services and fintech, you have so many different stakeholders that you have to deal with — incumbents, regulators, third parties — that have a touch point on workflow in process."

Bouvier does not see New York as the only choice — he also counts Singapore and London as fintech centers.

Being near potential customers and funding sources is important, said Scarlett Sieber, senior vice president of global business development at BBVA. "If you're in a place that's not one of the Tier 1 cities for fintech, having access to capital and getting on their radar can be more challenging," she said. That said, "If you're in a really small area that doesn't mean you won't be successful. Dwolla is a case in point."

3. Take regulation seriously. Many at the event stressed the importance of building good relationships with regulators. "Try to establish a partnership over time," said John Ramsay, chief market policy officer a IEX Group, an alternative stock exchange designed to discourage high-frequency trading that opened in October 2013. Ramsay worked at the SEC for 14 years before joining the exchange. "Don't expect the regulator to deliver clarity right away," he said.

Stuart Lacey, founder and CEO of Trunomi, noted that startups need to speak in a way regulators can relate to. "Regulators typically want to put a round peg in a round hole and a square peg in a square hole," he said. "Throwing words around like 'disruption' and 'completely rethinking' and the kind of things that typically go in your deck won't go over well. Get an understanding of how they're built, who they are, and … speak their language and engage in a very open dialogue."

At the e-billing startup Viewpost, the first person founder Max Eliscu hired was the chief privacy officer of Royal Bank of Scotland. "We knew it was going to be an issue, [and] we had to make compliance and regulation an aspect of what we were doing or we wouldn't go far," he said.

However, he also cautioned against regulators directly. "Most people would suggest that if you're not regulated, approaching regulators and asking questions probably is not a good idea. Rather, you can go to regulators through counsel, through advisers who have direct relationships. It's an anonymized way to get feedback and guidance to help you understand: are you stepping too close to the line? are you at risk?"

4. Say goodbye to your personal life. "People have a fantasy about the excitement of being an entrepreneur," Eliscu said. "The reality is, it is intellectually stimulating, it's incredibly rewarding, but it is not easy. It's an enormous amount of work. Work-life balance is not real for founders of startups, and I think people need to be honest with themselves about whether they really have the constitution to be founders."

5. Make sure the business plan is practical. "Once an entrepreneur came to me who had what he thought was a really good idea about starting a gaming studio, a place where people would go to play games," Eliscu said.

But the person had no retail experience, no knowledge about point-of-sale systems and no idea how to run a business.

"My advice to him was, go get a job at Starbucks for six months, get trained on how to be in retail by somebody who's really exceptional at it," Eliscu said. "It doesn't matter what you do — mop their floors, clean the bar. Learn the elements and the fundamentals of the business you want to start while getting paid to do it. Don't learn that on the back of your investors' capital."

6. Vet the people you surround yourself with. "I spent a couple of years getting to know my co-founder, the [chief financial officer] I brought on board," said Caren Maio, CEO and co-founder of Nestio, a maker of leasing and marketing software for multifamily landlords and brokers. "You don't always have the luxury of dating before you get married, but doing everything you can to assess not only the type of person, but is this person's skill set complementary to mine, is so helpful."

She also recommended hiring people who are smarter than you. "It's how I learn," Maio said.

7. Find strong, established partners. "The key to longevity is a willingness to partner with incumbents in the industry who have been doing this much longer but need fresh ideas and innovative products to take to their existing clients," said Jason Zaler, fintech partnerships lead at PwC. "It's to recognize that particularly on the consumer-facing side of fintech, the direct-to-consumer model is a very steep hill to climb without partners." Many startups have changed their tune in the past 15 months, he said. "The distribution that they thought might be optional or nice to have is now a need to have." In some cases they realize this too late, he said.

8. Do it because you love it. "I still spring out of bed every morning and think, 'I love what I do,'" Maio said. "And I literally cannot imagine doing anything but this."

Source: American Banker


Partners with ESG Book to Drive Investor Sustainability Engagement

, April 12, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Xignite, Inc., the leading provider of market data APIs to brokers and wealth managers, announced the launch of a new Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) data API in partnership with ESG Book, a global leader in ESG data and technology. Xignite's brokerage, wealth, and media customers can now increase user engagement and retention with state-of-the-art sustainability trading products.

As ESG investment has gone mainstream, today's digital investors, institutional investors, and corporations alike require ESG data to help them answer questions that range from a company's workforce diversity to its commitment to a net zero future. In this context, brokers and wealth managers can use ESG data to increase client engagement around their portfolios and differentiate their offerings in a very fragmented marketplace.

"We are thrilled to extend our highly scalable and advanced API platform to include ESG Book's real-time sustainability dataset. With the recent SEC announcement of proposals for climate disclosure, the momentum for sustainability data in the U.S. just keeps on building. If you do not offer ESG data and portfolio analytics to your clients today, you will run into growth and retention challenges," said Stéphane Duboi, the CEO of Xignite.

Dr Daniel Klier, CEO of ESG Book, said: "As capital markets transition towards a more sustainable, net-zero future, demand for accessible, comparable and transparent ESG data has never been higher. We are delighted to be partnering with Xignite, a global leader in API solutions, to deliver our real-time ESG data products to clients at both speed and scale through the latest cloud technology."

Xignite's new ESG API is designed to fast track the launch of ESG powered products. Transparent, well-structured and easy to understand ESG datasets eliminate the need for robust in-house ESG expertise. Advanced screener endpoints further simplify development by eliminating the need to maintain a database.

XigniteGlobalESG API covers a comprehensive universe of public companies domiciled in North America, EMEA, APAC, and Latin America. In addition to ESG scores, this API provides Global Compact scores, involvement data, temperature scores, and raw emissions data.

About Xignite

Xignite is the leading provider of market data API solutions to brokers, wealth managers, and the tech firms who serve them. Xignite has been disrupting the market data industry from Silicon Valley since 2003 when it introduced the first commercial REST API. Today, more than 700 firms use Xignite's APIs more than half a trillion times a month to deliver high-value data to digital investors. Visit or follow us on Twitter @xignite.

About ESG Book

ESG Book is a global leader in sustainability data and technology. Through a cloud-based platform, ESG Book makes sustainability data more widely available and comparable for all stakeholders, enables companies to be custodians of their own data, provides framework-neutral ESG information in real-time, and promotes transparency. It counts many of the world's leading financial organisations among its clients, which collectively manage over $120 trillion in assets.


Sales Up 50%. API Volumes Now Exceed Half a Trillion per Month.

Xignite, Inc., the leading provider of market data APIs to brokers and wealth managers, announced that 2021 was a banner year for its business. Xignite experienced more than 50% growth in new client bookings over 2020. Most of this growth was fueled by heavy demand from new brokerage and wealth management applications as more firms entered the business. Xignite also saw a 53% increase in API consumption to a whopping half a trillion requests a month - driven mainly by increased activity from digital investors as they consumed more and more data during the pandemic.

The Digital Investor Revolution was created by the convergence of zero-cost trading, fractional shares, working from home, the pandemic, and the emergence of a new and more powerful generation of retail investors. This has created significant momentum in trading and wealth management, primarily US-based equity and options trading. And it has fueled the entrance of a considerable number of new prominent players in the field, especially embedded finance providers. It all came to light in early 2021 with the Reddit and Gamestop phenomenon. But it has not proven to be short-lived. The transformation could be profound. Indeed Xignite saw its momentum accelerate in Q4-2021, with bookings growth exceeding 310% over the same quarter in 2020.

“Xignite is one of the oldest and most scalable commercial API infrastructures globally. It’s not a surprise that our clients have grown to rely on us for their mission-critical business needs,” says Stephane Dubois, Xignite’s CEO and Founder. “It’s not only the mind-numbing volumes that we have to deal with,” adds Dubois, “It’s also the 4-nine+ level of availability we deliver day in and day out coupled with the awesome market data quality and the high touch responsiveness of our support teams. These metrics matter to large embedded finance firms entering the business or legacy firms migrating to the cloud. They spend tens of millions of dollars entering the business. They don’t want to see it evaporate because of poor data quality or API availability.” 

About Xignite

Xignite powers the investing apps and services that enable millions of people to manage their portfolios and trade stocks from a phone or tablet with the industry’s best financial market data APIs. We help more than 700 fintech trading, investment, and analytics firms like Robinhood, SoFi, and Betterment provide digital investors with the market data they need, such as real-time stock prices and company news. Visit or follow on Twitter @xignite.


Xignite, Inc., the leading provider of market data APIs to brokers and wealth managers, announced the launch of a new cryptocurrency data API. Xignite’s brokerage, wealth, and media customers can now increase the value and stickiness of their services to digital investors by taking advantage of the depth and breadth of data offered by this API.

Investment in cryptocurrencies has increased dramatically over the last few years and has proven to draw new investors into the world of trading. As a result, brokerage companies are trying hard to make buying, selling, and holding Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Dogecoin (DOGE), and other cryptocurrencies as easy as possible for their clients. The XigniteCrypto API is the first to bring together a vast universe of cryptocurrency information alongside the equity, ETF, and option data brokers and fund managers need to offer high-quality services to their clients. It also provides the depth of functionality required for them to engage customers and drive trading activity

“Cryptocurrencies tend to operate in their own world,” said Stephane Dubois, CEO, and Founder of Xignite. “This means that if you want to offer integrated equity, option, and crypto trading or analytics for your clients, you are going to have to cobble up a lot of heterogeneous data from many disparate sources, and that’s a pain,” adds Dubois. “With our new crypto API, you get the depth of coverage, the quality, and the reliability across all asset classes you need to grow your business - all in one integrated solution.”

Xignite’s new cryptocurrency API, XigniteCrypto, provides real-time and historical quotes for over 900 cryptocurrencies, including coins and tokens. It includes unique API endpoints that help firms engage digital investors, using the data and tools they need to make crypto trading decisions, including price alerts, historical charting, currency conversion, and cryptocurrency news.

About Xignite

Xignite is the leading provider of market data API solutions to brokers, wealth managers, and the tech firms who serve them. Xignite has been disrupting the market data industry from Silicon Valley since 2003, when it introduced the first commercial REST API. Since then, Xignite has continually taken advantage of new technologies to help its clients grow their business and serve their customers better by using financial market data effectively. Today, more than 700 firms use Xignite’s APIs more than half a trillion times a month to deliver high-value data to digital investors. Visit or follow on Twitter @xignite.



Xignite, Inc., a cloud-based market data distribution and management solutions provider for financial services and technology companies, announced a new Vendor of Record service for clients subscribing to real-time and delayed market data. The new service vastly simplifies the administration and reporting required by exchanges and often eliminates the need to pay redistribution fees, potentially saving clients thousands of dollars a month.

As an approved Vendor of Record, also called a Service Facilitator, Xignite can redistribute real-time and delayed equities and options pricing data from Nasdaq, New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Options Price Reporting Authority (OPRA), OTC Markets (OTCM), and the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX). 

Adhering to the complex compliance guidelines required by exchanges is extremely difficult for investment advisers, financial advisers, or order management software providers that need to display real-time or delayed data. Each exchange has its own unique set of regulations and compliance requirements, and clients need to prove that they have control over who receives the data, in what format, and for what use case. Xignite’s Vendor of Record service eliminates the administrative burden of tracking these complex compliance requirements.

The new service utilizes Xignite’s cloud-native Entitlements and Usage Microservices to give firms complete control and transparency of their data consumption and usage. Xignite provides data entitlements, usage tracking, and exchange reporting across various data sets, users, and applications to ensure exchange compliance. Xignite’s new service sometimes eliminates the need to pay expensive redistribution fees. Exchange fees for display data, regardless of the number of users, can cost upwards of $10,000 per month. These high fees are especially difficult for smaller financial firms with just a few real-time data users.  

“Maneuvering through the maze of required compliance policies, entitlements, usage tracking, and reporting requirements, and being subjected to frequent audits is no easy feat,” said Vijay Choudhary, Head of Product for Xignite. “Xignite’s mission is to “Make Market Data Easy.” Today’s announcement is another step towards this. We are taking away the administrative burdens and complexity of licensing market data and allowing our clients the freedom to focus on their investment and trading strategies and building innovative products.”

Xignite’s Vendor of Record service is available for professional users with internal and display-only use cases. The service is available now as an add-on service for subscribers of our real-time and delayed equities and options pricing data APIs. These include:






About Xignite

Xignite has been disrupting the financial and market data industry from its Silicon Valley headquarters since 2003 when it introduced the first commercial REST API. Since then, Xignite has continually refined its technology to help Fintech and financial institutions get the most value from their data. Today, more than 700 clients access over 500 cloud-native APIs to build efficient and cost-effective enterprise data management solutions. Visit or follow on Twitter @xignite.