Securities finance with app-titude


Trading Apps has evolved from a start-up to a mature organisation

Trading Apps was branded a ‘start-up’ when it was founded in 2011. A start-up is by definition an entrepreneurial venture that is typically a newly emerged, fast-growing business that aims to solve a problem where the solution is not apparent and success is not guaranteed.

The problem identified back in 2011 by the founders of Trading Apps was a securities finance front office that was operating with legacy technology. The market was extremely manual and inundated with numerous process inefficiencies. The solution for many organisations in this market could have been a complete overhaul of their systems and architecture. For many that route was simply not possible due to the financial implications and enormity of the technological task. This is where Trading Apps came on the scene with its suite of functional applications that could solve specific problems and sit on top of existing systems. The idea was to provide the front office with a modern and progressive set of tools without disturbing the underlying infrastructure.

With the problem and its solution in hand, Trading Apps started down the winding road from start-up to mature business. According to various entrepreneurial publications, the lifecycle of a start-up company can be broken down into five stages: seed and development, launch, growth and establishment, expansion, and maturity.

The first stage for Trading Apps began in 2011 as those very founders began tackling the problem at-hand. The turning point, and perhaps the true launch for the organisation, emerged in late 2012 when conversations and an eventual relationship began with one of the largest and most respected agent lenders in the world. What began as an exercise to build real-time connectivity to FIS’s Global One has blossomed into a full suite of front-end trading applications that has revolutionised the productivity, automation and revenue generating capabilities of this agency lending client.

How does a rather small organisation move from the launch phase of a start-up to the current stage that it finds itself in—the growth and establishment phase? Perhaps the answer to this question lies in looking at how Trading Apps has evolved and expanded with each of its clients as opposed to looking at the organisation as a whole. Five years ago, when Trading Apps embarked on its relationship with the agent lender, it started with a single application to solve one very specific problem. Fast forward five years later and there is an entire suite of apps deployed at this client site solving for numerous problems and process inefficiencies. In fact, some of these apps and solutions were developed to solve very specific problems for this particular client. One could certainly make the argument that Trading Apps has practically endured the full lifecycle of a start-up business (from seed and development to maturity) just within the walls of its very first large-scale client.

The key for a company such as Trading Apps to continue to progress from one stage of development to the next is being able to replicate this initial client experience over and over again. And that is exactly what this organisation has been doing for the past several years. Its proprietary technology and sophisticated development gives Trading Apps the ability to rapidly construct and deploy applications specifically tailored to its client’s needs and underlying architecture. Clients typically start off with one app and then quickly purchase additional apps, or choose to collaborate with Trading Apps on a brand new solution.

Each new client for Trading Apps presents an opportunity for the company to continue its evolution from a start-up to a very mature organisation. Perhaps that is why the employees of Trading Apps have embraced the fast paced and exciting culture that its founders have established.

Trading Apps is now a global team of 40 employees with more than 70 percent of the staff technical in nature. In 2015, the company opened an office in Shoreditch, London, with a team of two. Today, this location supports a staff of 14 and includes developers, business analysts, testers and business development. In 2016, Trading Apps opened an office on Park Avenue in New York to house its new director of sales and client management for the Americas and respond to the growing US demand for its products and services. The New York office has already grown to a team of three and will most certainly follow a similar trajectory to its London counterpart. The technology hub for the firm is located in Milton Keynes, a thriving tech-driven community just outside of London, where the chief architect leads a growing group of spirited technologists.

The company continues to expand its impressive roster of global clients and prospects. The company is now providing apps to agent and principal lenders, broker-dealers, and central funding groups. Its clients span the globe and, lastly, what started as mostly a front-office endeavour has migrated to the middle office with tremendous interest for Trading Apps to provide a full-service securities finance solution.

The key to the success of Trading Apps is progressing from a start-up to a mature organisation over and over again. We look forward to checking in with Trading Apps in another five years to see how many times over it has evolved.
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