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Exclusive Interview With Stephane Dubois, CEO & Founder of Xignite Inc.

Xignite

Let's Talk Payments fintechWe did an exclusive interview with the CEO and Founder of Xignite Inc., Stephane Dubois. Recently named to Institutional Investor’s Tech 50 list of financial visionaries and innovators, Stephane Dubois is a recognized software and market data industry executive who founded Xignite to pioneer market data in the cloud. Stephane Dubois is a well-known FinTech thought leader and is frequently quoted in publications, including ForbesWall Street & Technology, Bob’s GuideInside Reference Data, and Venture Capital JournalStephane Dubois CEO Xignite the market data cloudHe has spoken at numerous FinTech events around the world, including Finovate, FinDEVr, DKF, WFIC and The Money Conference. Prior to founding Xignite, Stephane was Vice President of Product Management at Advent Software, the leading provider of software solutions for the investment management industry. Prior to Advent, Stephane held senior product and marketing management positions at Walker Interactive Systems and Oracle Corporation. Stephane holds an MS in Management from M.I.T. Sloan School of Management and MS and BS degrees in international management from the MBA Institute in Paris.

LTP: There is a lot of interest in APIs but how exactly do APIs help a startup do things differently?

An API done well could be a huge advantage for a startup and can help a startup speed up the process of bringing a new product to the market. Earlier, startups used to build everything in-house and for on-premise. All FinTech companies now float their products on cloud services, so they should be able to access API data like an on-premise database. If it’s on the cloud, it’s on their fingertips. So in the case of using APIs, a startup does not need to build everything from scratch and they can use already existing APIs to build the product.

LTP: There used to be APIs in the yester years as well. What has changed and what are the new APIs all about?

Earlier, the APIs were usually built for slower networks. Now, the APIs are called over and over again, so they need to be very real-time accessible, robust and scalable.

The APIs that we build now are for the on-demand world. You can use as much as you wish. They are scalable, very cheap and fast. They require less on-premise storage once you start using them effectively, and the cloud based products should be like that. So we have built APIs for the modern world.

We serve 1 Billion calls per day. It means we can scale according to the requirements.

LTP: I hear a lot that somebody used an API and the problem was that it was not really built for their kind of use case. We also found out from somebody else that they were facing the same problems. Since APIs will be used by different types of clients, how do you make an API which could be used by all of them? If you customize it too much, it does not remain usable by everybody. So what do you do?

It requires deep domain knowledge to build a good API. And a good API should be usable across various use cases. So you don’t design it for only one specific use case but you design it in such a way that it is easy to understand, intuitive and can work across many use cases. Earlier, we had tools to customize the APIs and we used to provide them to the clients so that the client could customize them on their end. Now, with more experience and having our APIs used by various types of clients over and over again, we don’t need to really do that. We have built standardized APIs that work across the board. So now we have more than 1,000 clients and they are doing 1 Billion API calls per day. Our clients include Wealthfront, Betterment, Motif Investing, Personal Capital, Robinhood, StockTwits,Yodlee, BlackRock, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., BNY Mellon, Natixis, TD Ameritrade, Envestnet, Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. Of course, there are good and bad APIs. It all depends on how much effort you have put in, how good the API you have built is, how usable and scalable it is.

LTP: You have mentioned that GE and Starbucks use your APIs. Can you elaborate on that a bit more?

Starbucks has a big employee base. They also have an employee portal. So they display stock quotes using our API to their employee portal. GE has a big financial services division and they disburse corporate loans. In fact, they are the biggest in the country. So they use our API for the interest rates and other things. A lot of our clients use it for various reasons—price of commodities, interest rates, FX rates, financial data and so on and so forth.

the market data api

LTP: What is your business model?

We usually charge for an unlimited use. There are 45 different services. So for each of the service, say, Equity, FX, real time, etc., you can pick and choose. For example, you can have FX in real time or you can have FX for historical and so on and so forth. So there are various combinations of services available for which you can get unlimited use and pay for the subscription. You can also pay per API call in some cases.

LTP: I see that you have also integrated with FactSet, and I have used FactSet in the past. So if we use FactSet directly versus if we use through you, is it cheaper or is there any other advantage?

It is not cheaper but it is easier to use. Instead of going for a large contract with FactSet, you can save money by just using what you want within FactSet and using it as much as you as want. Instead of taking the whole big contract, which is usually per year, you save by using our system on pay-as-you-go.

LTP: Tell me little bit about your company in terms of funding and how big it is.

We are about 40 employees right now. 1 Billion calls per day  are made to our systems and we are providing information of (covering) about 55 countries. We have raised about $16.4M so far.

LTP: Tell me about your background.

Prior to founding Xignite, I was Vice President of Product Management at Advent Software, the leading provider of software solutions for the investment management industry. Prior to Advent, I held senior product and marketing management positions at Walker Interactive Systems and Oracle Corporation.

LTP: How do you differentiate from the competition? Who is your competition?

Our competition is really Bloomberg Terminals, Thomson Reuters and any other source which provides financial data in the same format. If you look at anybody else, they are old school APIs. We have built a modern set of APIs. There is nobody else across such a broad spectrum of APIs globally and, therefore, we are moving ahead at a very fast pace. We are being used by a lot of wealth management clients and non-fintech companies as well. Even other API companies like Yodlee are our partners. We want to focus on the data space and not branch out too much. We want to focus on data APIs which are around price of commodities, FX rates and similar other financial data points. That is our focus.

LTP: What are the drivers for the use of APIs?

First of all, you don’t require any data centers and infrastructure. You don’t need to invest in building up everything. You can pretty much use something which is pre-built and scales with you. If it is a good, scalable API, then you should be able to call it again and again, in a reliable fashion. These are the drivers because of which entrepreneurs/developers are increasingly depending on APIs to help them build products. They can focus on their core strength and build that part of the product, while for other things (such as financial data) they can just use the API.

Source: Let's Talk Payments

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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. 

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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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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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