Market Data Isn't Free – & Other Lessons FinTech Startups Learn the Hard Way


Stephane Dubois shares market data advice for those looking to revolutionize financial technology.


Wall Street and Tech FintechThe current business of financial technology highly resembles a gold rush, and Stephane Dubois, CEO and founder of the cloud-based market data provider firm Xignite, says he is providing the shovels. 

The digital revolution is hitting every industry, from Uber on taxis to Airbnb on hospitality, he said in a recent webcast. Great industry giants cannot escape the impacts of industry upstarts, and none is more aware than financial services, particularly in the realm of wealth management where online firms like Betterment and Wealthfront are making their mark on incumbent wealth and brokerage firms. "They are gathering footholds, and some of these guys will break through into the market," says Dubois.

Bill Doyle, VP and principal analyst at Forrester Research, notes that consumers have a growing interest in online advice, and a recent study showed a 50% rise in just the last three years of consumers who said that online financial advice is just as good as in-person advice. With findings like these, it's no wonder venture capitalists are pouring money into the digital financial advice startup market. 

New companies are largely targeting the relatively underserved millennial generation, a market that expects a high level of automation and readily available information on any and all devices. So a company can't expect to move from startup to critical player if it can't provide instant access to the breadth and depth of data its customers want. 

Therein lies a critical problem that Dubois has seen many companies tackle from the wrong angle. Xignite provides financial market data to more than a thousand innovative companies from its platform in the AWS cloud, and, over the years, it has grown to be a cult favorite among FinTech startups, a development that has transformed its role from pure supplier to something of a mentor. 

A lot of smart, young people are coming into the market to reinvent finance, and they can be easily derailed by decisions around market data, Dubois explains. "If you are in a FinTech business, chances are you will need some market data -- it is the lifeblood of FinTech." Many, however, can't afford to pay extreme prices for loads of data.

"We find often that people come to us not really understanding this world of market data," he says. "They want to create a new business, they want to create a new model, but they don't really know what they want and what they need… This often leads to poor decisions, which can contribute to making the company fail."

His advice for FinTech revolutionaries breaks down to four key points:

  1. Understand what you're getting into. "I think the first thing you want to do to succeed is to educate yourself, or work with someone who can educate you." Complex processes like setting up exchange agreements are not for the faint of heart.
  2. Market data is not free. A lot of millennial entrepreneurs are used to seeing this data for free because it is public on Yahoo Finance and Google, but it's not free for business use, according to user agreements. Business need to sign agreements with exchanges, and many startups aren't ready for that step, "It can really derail their plans. It could lead them to steal data or scrape data, which might set them on the wrong path."
  3. Match costs to the growth. There are ways to minimize costs and optimize the use of capital. "Do your homework and pick solutions that will shorten your time to market and extend your runway. Sometimes we run into the opposite scenario where entrepreneurs are data happy from day one. They get a big round of funding, and they want to start buying all the data in the world, not necessarily having a clear view of how this is going to differentiate them or help them. They go too quickly and may actually waste some money."
  4. Don't forget about hidden costs. A lot of firms are coming in looking only at the price of feeds, but market data often requires some wrangling. "What you spend on data is just the tip," cautions Dubois. "Think of the time spent integrating data, worrying about quality of data, managing data… You don't want to go down a path that will freeze growth because of time spent on data management and data integration."

Fintech has been a huge boom to Xignite's market data business, and it is a global trend. Dubois says he gets at least one startup a week calling in from France, which never happened years go, and is seeing the same thing from startups in Germany. He adds that London has always been pretty strong, as are Hong Kong and Singapore. In all, his firm handles more than 15 billion API requests per month.

Source: Wall Street and Tech


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.

Read article on Bobsguide


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 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 or follow on Twitter @xignite


Xignite, Inc., a provider of cloud-based market data distribution and management solutions for financial services and technology companies, today announced that its Market Data Management-as-a-Service solution has been named “Best New Technology Introduced over the last 12 months – Infrastructure” at the 2020 WatersTechnology American Financial Technology Awards (AFTAs). Selected by the editors of WatersTechnology, the AFTAs recognize excellence in the deployment and management of financial technology within the asset management and investment banking communities.

Xignite’s Market Data Management-as-a-Service (MDMaaS) solution enables buy- and sell-side firms to centralize the management of vendor data feeds into their own cloud environment. The solution is built around the cloud microservice-based architecture and technology stack Xignite has been refining and scaling for more than 10 years. Xignite’s technology platform has been the backbone of the company’s Data-as-a-Service business, daily supporting 12 billion API requests of financial data for their 700 fintech and financial services clients. Now Xignite is leveraging this battle-tested cloud-native data management architecture to offer buy- and sell-side firms a market data vendor agnostic offering, with connectors available for firms to load data they license from Bloomberg, Refinitiv, ICE and numerous other providers.

The MDMaaS solution includes a suite of loosely-coupled modules that enable market data user firms to control their data usage, automate entitlements, optimize their data spend and minimize liabilities by simplifying data governance and ensuring regulatory compliance.

The functionality is delivered via microservices, an architectural approach in which core functionality is handled by loosely coupled, independently deployable modules that can work together or separately. Microservices architecture stands in stark contrast with monolithic platforms that require expensive on-premise technology – that is especially hard to maintain in the context of a pandemic.

The MDMaaS microservice-delivered modules introduced in 2020 include:

Xignite Entitlements and Usage - Manage the entitlement of vendor data to users and applications to ensure compliance and eliminate excess spend.

Xignite Optimization - Streamline data consumption to avoid duplicated vendor requests, leverage cached bulk data and get recommendations to reduce data costs.

Xignite Data Lake - Centralize, catalog and connect data shapes to enable frictionless integration by consumers via unified cloud APIs.

Xignite Reference - Aggregate, normalize, store and index vendor reference data to centralize enterprise-wide access.

Xignite Historical - Provide centralized access to normalized, stitched and adjusted historical data via cloud APIs.

Xignite Real-Time - Distribute real-time vendor data via cloud APIs, eliminating on-premise infrastructure.

Xignite Fundamentals - Make simple and complex time-series data structures available via cloud APIs.

“Xignite has pioneered market data in the cloud for more than 10 years now, so we are very excited to announce – and be recognized for – our Market Data Management-as-a-Service solution,” said Stephane Dubois, CEO, and founder of Xignite. “The pandemic has reinforced the need for financial services firms to migrate to the cloud as a means of navigating disruption and enabling scalability, among other benefits. We are proud to spearhead that effort and help the industry modernize its approach to financial and market data.”

About 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 via its Data-as-a-Service and Market Data Management-as-a-Service solutions. Today, more than 700 clients access over 500 cloud-native APIs and leverage a suite of specialized microservices to build efficient and cost-effective enterprise data management solutions. Visit or follow on Twitter @xignite