Some of the biggest players in the financial sector are coming together to back a small New York-based technology company called OpenFin. OpenFin, a start up with aspirations of becoming the “operating system” for financial services applications, just raised $15 million in a Series B fundraising round from investors including JP Morgan, the venture firm Bain Capital Ventures, the fintech backer NEX Euclid Opportunities, and the high-frequency trading firm DRW Trading Group. Additional investors in the same round included venture firms Nyca Partners and Pivot Investment Partners, and many angel investors and financial industry executives. Two and a half years ago, the company raised $7 million in a round led by Bain Capital Ventures. OpenFin’s aim is to bring HTML5 applications to the financial services industry. The result: a more streamlined electronic trading experience.
“Trillions of dollars pass through thousands of disparate desktop applications every day, creating a significant market opportunity to unify the operating platform, improve deployment speed, and infuse greater efficiency and security,” said Don Wilson, CEO at DRW.
Sanoke Viswanathan, Chief Administrative Officer at J.P. Morgan Corporate & Investment Bank added: “One critical component of OpenFin’s success is their deep commitment to open source technology. Some of the most successful tech companies are combining proprietary technology aimed at fueling business growth with an open source, shared technology framework that gets better with contributions from the broader community.”
For several years, financial firms and banks have been relying on expensive terminals and desktop applications due to the lack of security on operating applications effectively on a browser. OpenFin proposed a technology that changes the whole dynamic of Wall Street, and the like. OpenFin solves a decades long problem of delivering modern applications with more choices with a highly secure and managed environment.
OpenFin was developed on top of Google’s Chromium Project— an open source project (anyone can see the code) that lets developers poke around, test, and modify Google’s Chrome for iOS code. The company considers itself to be the Android for capital markets, a way for companies to develop applications for financial services and capital markets to operate effectively across the different programming environments in each big bank, marketplace or hedge fund.
OpenFin’s software is already used by 35 of the biggest banks, hedge funds, and trading platforms and is installed on over 100,000 desktops. So far, J.P. Morgan, BNP Paribas, Citigroup, HSBC, Electronifie, REDI, Tumid Greenly, ICAP, OpenDoor, Embonds, RBS and Tullett Prebon use the company’s software. The company bills itself as a more secure, fully integrated way for anyone using trading or communication tools to work in the financial sector.
“There’re three main things that [OpenFin’s service] does,” says OpenFin CEO Mazy Dar, a former executive with the Intercontinental Exchange. “The first is to have apps that can be downloaded and updated easily — the same way you would download apps on your phone — and then have them update regularly. Then there’s the layer of security, a key issue for any Wall Street institution. Finally, there is interoperability, or letting the apps talk to one another — the same way social media apps connect on your phone.”
Applications that run on top of OpenFin never access the underlying network, thus providing a far more secure service for the users. Currently, updates on applications take between six to eighteen months to deliver due to the required integration or customization and security vetting. OpenFin’s software helps financial institutions upgrade trading applications as quickly and frequently as your favorite app gets updated on your smartphone.
The company makes its money on per-seat fees charged to the companies that make and distribute the applications, so no charge for the banks! But the viability of OpenFin works insofar that there are applications that want to run on OpenFin’s platform.
This little-known New York startup that quietly amassed 100,000 users has raised a total of $22 million and the company aims to use the money to expand their New York and London teams, improve customer service, and add more features to the technology. Keep on the lookout for the “Android for Wall Street” coming to an investment bank near you.
So you may be asking, what does Series-A, Series B-, Series-C funding mean for a startup? If so, your answer is here; The Stages Of Business Funding Guide.
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