In 2018, FIA hosted its fourth annual Innovators Pavilion for fintech startups offering forward-thinking solutions for global derivatives markets. More than 45 applications for places in the Pavilion were reviewed by a selection committee comprised of technology experts from banks, trading firms and venture capital firms, and 15 standout companies were selected based on their relevance to the derivatives industry and the innovativeness of their products and services.
The winner that year was Freightwaves, a company that aimed to create a new class of futures products and market data based on the rates charged by trucking companies to move goods across the US. While the products themselves never came to fruition, FreightWaves is still in operation five years later providing intelligence to supply chain managers worldwide.
Some companies featured in the Innovators Pavilion get acquired and subsumed by bigger financial firms. Others simply don't pan out. But out of the class of 2018, four standout companies have gone on to do big things in the intervening years.
Chainalysis - Bringing trust to crypto markets
Founded by Michael Gronager, Jan Moller and Jonathan Levin in 2014, Chainalysis is a blockchain data platform company based in New York that offers cryptocurrency investigation and compliance solutions to global law enforcement agencies, regulators and financial institutions.
The company's mission is to build trust in blockchains globally, establish standard audit practices and implement powerful compliance controls for cryptocurrency to sustain its growth and integrate into the global financial infrastructure.
Since participating in the 2018 FIA Innovators Pavilion, the company has become one of the top firms for tracking transactions in cryptocurrency and its solutions are regularly used by law enforcement for forensic investigations. It has more than 750 customers in 70 countries, including more than 100 financial institutions, and it was named by Fast Company as one of the world’s most innovative companies of 2023.
One key factor in its growth -- multiple rounds of investment by venture capital firms and financial institutions. In May 2022, the company announced its most recent funding round, raising $170 million from a group of investors led by GIC, Singapore's sovereign wealth fund. That funding round brought the company's valuation to $8.6 billion.
“Our investment in Chainalysis is a natural progression of an already meaningful and productive alliance,” said Roman Regelman, head of securities services and digital at BNY Mellon, one of the bank's that participated in the May funding round. “BNY Mellon is a leader in financial market innovation, and collaborating with established firms in the digital asset ecosystem, like Chainalysis, is a key pillar in our strategy.”
Genesis Global – A microservices approach to software
Founded in 2015 in London, Genesis Global provides software development services to allow financial market organizations to innovate efficiently. The company implements a microservices approach to writing software programs, with a focus on capital markets. Its core platform combines a low-code framework with pre-built and customizable applications and components. Its goal is to reinvent how the industry builds software, by replacing the buy vs. build challenge with a buy-to-build paradigm.
Genesis Global has been busy since FIA Expo’s 2018 Innovators Pavilion. The company was named in 2021 CB Insights’ Top Fintech 250, won an American Financial Technology Award in 2022, and was recently announced a winner of TabbFORUM’s NOVA Award for top innovators in financial services technology. In June 2023, Gensis Global became officially certified as SOC 2 Type 2 compliant for exhibiting the highest industry standards for data security.
In 2021, Genesis raised $45 million from a group of investors that included venture capital firm Accel and the venture investment arms of Google and Salesforce. In 2022, the company announced an additional $20 million investment from Bank of America, BNY Mellon and Citi, further cementing its commercial relationships with those banks.
“The Genesis platform is built for financial markets,” Nikhil Joshi, Citi's North America Head of Markets Technology, said in 2022 when the investment was announced. “The platform eliminates repetitive, non-differentiating work core to many financial industry applications, freeing developers to focus on innovative work and making Technology departments more productive and more strategic.”
ipushpull – Innovation in data sharing
Ipushpull was founded in 2013 by two traders who were frustrated by the difficulties they faced in sharing data in real time. Their solution – a unified data collaboration platform that can take almost any type of data and transform it into a usable format, including Excel spreadsheets or APIs.
Early on, ipushpull integrated its platform with Symphony, a messaging and workflow platform designed for financial institutions, to allow for no-code live data sharing through messages on Symphony. It now is integrated with platforms ranging from Refinitiv data feeds to Microsoft productivity software to Slack chat. Firms that use ipushpull have grown to include JPMorgan, UBS, Nomura and BNP Paribas, among others.
In April TP ICAP, one of the world's leading inter-dealer brokers, bought a minority stake in ipushpull as part of a Series A funding round. The funds will be used to scale up the firm's live data sharing and workflow automation capacity, and further integrate ipushpull into Fusion, TP ICAP’s trading platform. TP ICAP said it plans to extend the use of ipushpull to hundreds of clients across multiple asset classes throughout 2023.
"ipushpull is a flexible, scalable solution that sits alongside Fusion’s existing FIX and STP solutions," said Dan Wray, TP ICAP's chief information officer. "This enables us to meet our clients’ needs for speed and greater automation. Our investment reflects both the confidence we have in our partnership with ipushpull and the progress we’re making in executing our strategy to transform our business through technology."
Kaizen Reporting – Demystifying regulatory obligations
Kaizen Reporting is a provider of regulatory reporting services to ensure the accuracy and completeness of a firm's submissions to regulators. That need has grown rapidly in the last decade with the introduction of new reporting requirements in Europe, through regulations such as MiFIR and EMIR, as well as new obligations introduced in the US by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Securities and Exchange Commission.
The firm has grown through modest acquisitions of competitors in recent years, including the purchase of Single Rulebook, a software firm focused on regulatory rules management, and MDM Compliance Systems, a shareholding disclosure management firm. More recently, in 2023 Kaizen acquired Red Deer, a provider of integrated compliance solutions for surveillance and research workflows, and London Reporting House, a platform that aggregates repo market data.
The company did not win the Innovators Pavillion in 2018, but the prior year it won a prestigious Queen’s Award for Innovation in 2017 in the UK. And the awards have kept coming since then. Last year, at the RegTech Insight Awards, Kaizen won the honors for "Best Reporting Solution for CFTC Reporting" for the second year in a row.