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The FinTech Capital - 4th Edition

Xignite

LONDON’S FINTECH LEADERS TALK INVESTORS, START-UPS, COMMUNITIES & NEW FINTECH, TRADING TECHNOLOGY, ETRM/CTRM, BIG DATA AND OUTSOURCING VS. INSOURCING

The scene occurs at a San Francisco hipster bar in late 2014. She asks “And what do you do during the day?” He calmly says, while tucking his plaid shirt in and rubbing his fully-grown beard, “I work in a fintech startup.” “Me too,” she replies giggling. “Are you in payments or digital wealth management?”

The story draws a smile. Two years ago, few millennials in San Francisco knew what fintech (e.g. financial technology) was, but now they all see it as their ticket to fame and fortune-via-IPO. Move over social networks and micro-blogging; the next innovation frontier lies at the crossroad of Wall Street and Silicon Valley.*

Just in the month of October 2014, fintech companies in the US have raised more than $1B, including the $75M IPO of valley-veteran Yodlee, the $64M raised by digital wealth management fintech poster-child Wealthfront, and the $150M raised by payment darling Square. The capital flows and the hefty valuations don’t lie: fintech is on fire, and that fire is not only burning in the US; fintech ecosystems are flaring up in Singapore, London, Frankfurt and Paris, and many other technology centers in the world.

It was not always like this. If you tried to raise money in fintech during the years that followed the fall of Lehman Brothers, most venture capital and private equity firms would have gently pushed you out to the curb with a polite “We are not investing in fintech right now,” but today money is gushing out of their funds faster than their fledgling startups can spend it, and they are briskly updating their websites to make you believe they were in fintech all along.

So what has changed since the doom-days of finance?

The first change is economical: The markets are back in the saddle. As proof, the Dow Industrial has broken its all-time record high 79 times in 2013 and 2014 alone, and it closed on October 13, 2014 at its highest value in history. As a rising tide lifts all boats, the bubbling markets have boosted financial services and yanked financial technology in their trail. One thing that stands out in the growth of the markets is the meteoric growth of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)—which has exceeded every other asset class since their inception 20 years ago. Assets in ETFs now exceed 3 trillion dollars. Their inherent ease of use (as they combine the passive investment convenience of mutual funds with a level of trading ease that was previously only found in equities) could certainly explain some of the rebirth in the markets. In any case, finance is hot again. God bless America.

The second change is technological: It’s been almost 20 years since the Internet revolution began on August 9, 1995 (the day of the Netscape IPO), and technology has matured tremendously in many areas. Those concurrent evolutions have combined to create a cradle of innovation which is fueling the Fintech Fire:

  • The scaling of the public cloud (e.g., Amazon Web Services) which not only lets startups rev up on a dime, but also confers them a significant long-term cost structure advantage.
  • The maturing of app development via open source, re-usability and tools has reduced costs and timelines to hours or days. Imagine holding up a weekend-long hackathon in 1992; it just would not have worked.
  • The coming of age of social networking and search engine optimization (SEO) that have automated go-to-market strategies and slashed customer acquisition costs. With social contacts, adoption can go viral. Virality was not conceivable 10 years ago. It is not even a valid word in my spell-checker.
  • The dawn of APIs (whether used for trading via FIX or for market data consumption, as with my company Xignite) enables true end-to-end automation of processes that used to be complex and human-intensive. Fifteen years ago—without easy trading, market data and account funding APIs—digital wealth management companies like WealthfrontPersonal Capital or Betterment could not have existed.

The convergence of those trends is allowing startups everywhere to reinvent every vertical segment of financial technology with a new angle and with solutions that are easier, faster and better. This is hitting traditional financial service institutions like a high speed train. Most of them have had their heads buried in the sand focused on regulation and cost savings since the days of that infamous Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. Wall Street is now petrified that Silicon Valley is about to eat its lunch, and it is scrambling to catch up. But once you see that most large banks still twitch when one whispers the word cloud, you realize that the technology and cost advantage of the fintech revolutionaries is significant indeed. God bless APIs.

The third change is social. It has to do with a generational replacement of a population that has grown up with the Internet, surrounded by mobile devices, and used to instant gratification and levels of ease-of-use never experienced by humanity before. That generation could not care less about traditional investment and advice models. They would not think twice about banking with Google, Starbucks or Facebook if it were available. They are not worried about security on the Internet, and the last thing they want is to have to talk with someone to get anything done. They are ready to use Siri to place a trade and expect an investment account to open and be funded instantly.

According to a survey conducted by eTrade, the majority (72%) of millennials want a financial advisor like R2-D2— “a copilot with diverse skills who helps you when you need it and offers a variety of tools you can use yourself.” Only 28% of them are looking for a friend like C-3PO (i.e., “a constant companion focused on your money who will always tell you what to do”).  If you are betting that millennials will reverse their habits to that of their parents once they hit the age of 40, you may lose.

One may look at the mortgage crisis and think that because of it, financial services will never be the same. But the impact of the financial mortgage crisis is negligible compared to what millennials will have on the industry as they grow up. God bless our children.

So the fintech fire is being fueled by three deep-seated technological, social and economic transformations that are catalyzing to create an innovation bonanza that is turning the industry upside down. Of the three, only the first one is cyclical, and even if a bear market could put a cold shower on the whole phenomenon, the lasting characteristics of the two other trends allow us to safely predict that financial services and financial technology will never be the same.

* Technically a bit north of that, since Wall Street is now lined-up with condos and neglected for hip neighborhoods uptown by New York startups, and since Silicon Valley has been displaced by San Francisco as the startup capital of the world.

Stephane Dubois is CEO and founder of Xignite and a sought-after observer and contributor to the fintech community.

Source: The Harrington Star

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Xignite Market Data Cloud Platform

Xignite Market Data as a Service was one of the first market data services built to run in AWS and they are one of the few vendors that is an AWS Advanced Technology Partner with a Financial Services Competency.

With more than a decade of cloud expertise in building, scaling and operating cloud-based market data technology, it is no surprise that leading financial services and capital markets firms rely on this company to empower their journey to the cloud. Their Metals API Service offers real-time prices and quotes for metals including Gold, Silver, Palladium, Platinum and other base metals. In addition to real-time precious metals prices, the service provides daily London Fixing prices as well as historical precious metal prices and metal news. 

Xignite Cloud APIs are sourced from leading providers such as FactSet and Morningstar as well as Xignite’s own curated, high-quality data.

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Each year, Bobsguide asks the market to vote for fintech companies they believe stand out from the competition – those who have gone the extra mile in terms of development and servicing their clients. Xignite is proud to be listed as the "Best API Management" vendor on the Bobsguide 2020 Rankings.


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Web services data provider Xignite captured the AFTAs judges’ attention on the infrastructure front with its release of Xignite Enterprise Microservices in July 2020, a suite of cloud-based microservices for data management, storage and distribution in the cloud, designed to help financial firms migrate from monolithic legacy data architectures to more agile and less expensive cloud services and data sources.

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01/25/2021

Xignite, Inc., a provider of market data distribution and management solutions for financial services and technology companies, today revealed the results of its collaboration with StockCharts, a leading technical analysis and financial charting platform for online retail investors. The collaboration involved a move from an on-premise market data provider to Xignite’s cloud-native technology hosted in Amazon Web Services (AWS). Download the case study containing the full results.

StockCharts requires vast quantities of financial data to power its visualization, charting and tracking tools, which investors use to analyze the markets to help with investment decisions. The company was frustrated by the limits of its on-premise market data center, which was forcing the team to make architectural decisions based on what its data center could handle in terms of speed and storage, not on their technology. Its previous market data provider was just starting to build out some cloud offerings, but they were far away from what the business required. StockCharts decided to migrate its infrastructure to the AWS cloud and partner with Xignite to gain access to endlessly scalable market and financial data delivered through innovative cloud APIs.

The collaboration made an immediate impact as StockCharts was able to expand its offerings and customer base by pursuing growth strategies enabled by Xignite’s cloud-based approach, which provides easy access to data and eliminates architectural limits on storage and speed.

The pandemic provided further validation. Seattle-based StockCharts was in one of the first areas hit by COVID-19 and was forced to quickly shut down its office. Pandemic-driven market volatility followed and StockCharts customers wanted to visualize what was happening. The company’s ability to scale quickly and accommodate a high volume of new requests would not have been possible without Xignite.

“The move to the AWS cloud and Xignite has unlocked tremendous new potential for us in a lot of architectural ways, and has given us a lot of data options that we could not even consider before,” said Grayson Roze, Vice President of Operations at StockCharts. “It relieved us of the burden of figuring out how to source things. Instead, we know exactly where we need to go to get the data and can access it instantly. That is a huge, huge benefit for our business.”

“We are proud to have played a role in transforming how StockCharts approaches data,” said Stephane Dubois, CEO and Founder of Xignite. “The events of this year unleashed a massive spike in retail trading and a host of other unexpected forces that reinforced the need for financial services firms to leverage the cloud. Despite the disruption of this year, StockCharts was positioned for success, and we look forward to continuing to deliver our financial and market data solutions to the industry at large.”

Xignite

Xignite has been disrupting the financial and market data industry from its Silicon Valley headquarters since 2006 when it introduced the first commercial REST API. Since then, Xignite has been continually refining 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 and leverage a suite of specialized microservices-delivered modules to build efficient and cost-effective enterprise data management solutions. Visit http://www.xignite.com or follow on Twitter @xignite

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