Survival Tips for Fintech Startups as the Herd Thins


Article by Penny Crosman

Enthusiasm for certain fintech investments is said to be cooling among venture capitalists and private-equity firms already.

So the natural question is, how can enterprising online lenders and other startups survive, much less grow?

We put several entrepreneurs and experts on the spot at the Empire Startups Fintech Conference last week in New York. Here is a roundup of their advice.

1. Spend cautiously. "As a startup, you have to use your cash wisely," said Stephane Dubois, the chief executive and founder of the market data API company Xignite, which recently completed a $20.5 million funding round. "You don't want to run out, especially as it's probably going to get harder and harder to raise [money] in the second half of the year."

One common mistake: startups often spend too much on office space. "You'll probably regret spending so much money on just getting an office, later on," he said.

2. Geography matters. Matthew Harris, managing director at Bain Capital Ventures, said he always asks out-of-town startup entrepreneurs why they are not based in New York. "Many defining companies are in New York," he said. "New York has so many incumbent advantages for fintech companies."

Pascal Bouvier, venture partner with Santander InnoVentures, agreed. "I would love to say geography is not a vector of success in this day and age where we're connected 24/7 anywhere on the planet, but it is," he said. "The network value of being in a large city cannot be quantified. In financial services and fintech, you have so many different stakeholders that you have to deal with — incumbents, regulators, third parties — that have a touch point on workflow in process."

Bouvier does not see New York as the only choice — he also counts Singapore and London as fintech centers.

Being near potential customers and funding sources is important, said Scarlett Sieber, senior vice president of global business development at BBVA. "If you're in a place that's not one of the Tier 1 cities for fintech, having access to capital and getting on their radar can be more challenging," she said. That said, "If you're in a really small area that doesn't mean you won't be successful. Dwolla is a case in point."

3. Take regulation seriously. Many at the event stressed the importance of building good relationships with regulators. "Try to establish a partnership over time," said John Ramsay, chief market policy officer a IEX Group, an alternative stock exchange designed to discourage high-frequency trading that opened in October 2013. Ramsay worked at the SEC for 14 years before joining the exchange. "Don't expect the regulator to deliver clarity right away," he said.

Stuart Lacey, founder and CEO of Trunomi, noted that startups need to speak in a way regulators can relate to. "Regulators typically want to put a round peg in a round hole and a square peg in a square hole," he said. "Throwing words around like 'disruption' and 'completely rethinking' and the kind of things that typically go in your deck won't go over well. Get an understanding of how they're built, who they are, and … speak their language and engage in a very open dialogue."

At the e-billing startup Viewpost, the first person founder Max Eliscu hired was the chief privacy officer of Royal Bank of Scotland. "We knew it was going to be an issue, [and] we had to make compliance and regulation an aspect of what we were doing or we wouldn't go far," he said.

However, he also cautioned against regulators directly. "Most people would suggest that if you're not regulated, approaching regulators and asking questions probably is not a good idea. Rather, you can go to regulators through counsel, through advisers who have direct relationships. It's an anonymized way to get feedback and guidance to help you understand: are you stepping too close to the line? are you at risk?"

4. Say goodbye to your personal life. "People have a fantasy about the excitement of being an entrepreneur," Eliscu said. "The reality is, it is intellectually stimulating, it's incredibly rewarding, but it is not easy. It's an enormous amount of work. Work-life balance is not real for founders of startups, and I think people need to be honest with themselves about whether they really have the constitution to be founders."

5. Make sure the business plan is practical. "Once an entrepreneur came to me who had what he thought was a really good idea about starting a gaming studio, a place where people would go to play games," Eliscu said.

But the person had no retail experience, no knowledge about point-of-sale systems and no idea how to run a business.

"My advice to him was, go get a job at Starbucks for six months, get trained on how to be in retail by somebody who's really exceptional at it," Eliscu said. "It doesn't matter what you do — mop their floors, clean the bar. Learn the elements and the fundamentals of the business you want to start while getting paid to do it. Don't learn that on the back of your investors' capital."

6. Vet the people you surround yourself with. "I spent a couple of years getting to know my co-founder, the [chief financial officer] I brought on board," said Caren Maio, CEO and co-founder of Nestio, a maker of leasing and marketing software for multifamily landlords and brokers. "You don't always have the luxury of dating before you get married, but doing everything you can to assess not only the type of person, but is this person's skill set complementary to mine, is so helpful."

She also recommended hiring people who are smarter than you. "It's how I learn," Maio said.

7. Find strong, established partners. "The key to longevity is a willingness to partner with incumbents in the industry who have been doing this much longer but need fresh ideas and innovative products to take to their existing clients," said Jason Zaler, fintech partnerships lead at PwC. "It's to recognize that particularly on the consumer-facing side of fintech, the direct-to-consumer model is a very steep hill to climb without partners." Many startups have changed their tune in the past 15 months, he said. "The distribution that they thought might be optional or nice to have is now a need to have." In some cases they realize this too late, he said.

8. Do it because you love it. "I still spring out of bed every morning and think, 'I love what I do,'" Maio said. "And I literally cannot imagine doing anything but this."

Source: American Banker


In the foreign metal market and the world of international rates, currencies play the crucial role of acting as the medium of exchange in the transactions that take place.

Currencies like the United States dollar, the Euro, or the British Pound are commonly used around the world in order to get a metal rate. Some companies that offer precious metal live and historical rates have exposed their APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) to allow developers to integrate current and historical metal rates, currency conversion, or other capabilities into their applications.

In order to know about precious metals live and historical rates, there’s a lot of APIs available online, and if you want to try one, Barchart is going to be one of your first options. But if you take a look at what else is in the market, you’ll find alternatives so many great alternatives:

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.

Read the article Top 3 Alternatives for Barchart Precious Metals Rates


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.

Requires subscription to read the article on WatersTechnology


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