Xignite's Lessons About FinTech API Design


Forbes FintechXignite’s product, financial data, is in abundant supply all over the world, so there is little chance of competing based on the raw materials provided. But by using well-designed, developer-friendly APIs as a differentiator, Xignite has built a business with more than 1000 customers that make 15 billion API calls a month. Those who seek to find new markets for their data through APIs or who are creating APIs for an internal audience will likely benefit from the principles that Stephane Dubois, Xignite’s CEO, uses to design his company’s APIs.


For starters, Dubois points out that APIs must be adapted to the use case so that the developer gets all they need in a way that minimizes coding efforts. “This is the reason that all API supermarkets have failed,” said Dubois. “One-inch deep and one mile-wide API catalog are frustrating to developers. They will be used as a last resort, but quickly abandoned if an offering comes along that is adapted to the developer and the type of apps they are building.”

Stefane Dubois, CEO, Xignite


When he founded Xignite in 2006, Dubois found that the financial world had a few APIs that were essentially one-size-fits all and worse still, were built based on assumptions that no longer held.


“The kind of APIs offered were data-centric instead of being developer-centric,” said DuBois. “What some vendors did was simply take their old client/server layers and exposed them as APIs. The result was very cryptic and complex systems not easily usable by external developers.”

But there was another larger assumption about these APIs. Most of them were built for an era where the networks were slower and far more expensive than they are today. The previous generation of APIs often assumed that they application was going to store the data, not ask for it over and over again as needed. APIs need to be designed differently given the dramatic reduction in price for network bandwidth and the ability of the cloud to provide fast access to massive amounts of information.


“You have these massive cloud ecosystems like Amazon Web Services, where literally all the FinTech companies are building their products,” said Dubois. “Our service is there as well. We all benefit from the de facto co-location standard. It means that my customers can treat Xignite data like an on-premise database, and that’s exactly what they do.”


Xignite has always focused on how financial data can be used to power many different types of applications, not just trading systems. For that reason the company has attracted broad categories of clients. The first, which makes up the bulk of Xignite’s business are the new generation of FinTech startups such as WealthfrontPersonal Capital, and Betterment. These firms naturally gravitated to Xignite’s APIs, which were far better suited to building applications than the alternatives.


The second category of companies are the groups within the major financial players who are also building a new generation of applications.


“When we started, we had to adapt our APIs rapidly as we understood what our developers wanted,” said Dubois. “But especially with APIs, you must be careful, you must launch with a strong product and use versioning sparingly.” In other words, you need to run an agile process but make sure that the first phase is done in alpha and beta versions that are not widely distributed. When you publish an API for general availability, it must be baked.


When Xignite started in 2006, the demand for financial APIs was still mostly for the previous generation’s applications. Xignite found itself designing new types of APIs and extensions for every deal. But then a wave of FinTech startups provided a huge boost, and now Dubois feels his APIs are mature and ready to support a broad swath of applications.


“We have 80 percent of what most developers need to build mobile apps, personal finance apps, digital wealth management, and new payment systems,” said Dubois. “They can get the same data from other companies but it is a massive pain to build apps with it. Our core innovation is to see APIs as a user interface for developers. We like to think we bring all the empathy and sensitivity that is common in mobile and web interface designers to the task of API design.”


In other words, Xignite is not a financial data company, but a design company. In my view, anyone building an API must see the world the same way in order to have the best chances of success.


Source: Forbes


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


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