The Four V’s of big data are Volume, Variety, Velocity, and Veracity such that firms in global capital markets need the ability to execute on all four V’s in unison and well in order to compete. MayStreet, the capital markets data platform, takes every historical and existing bid and offer on stock, derivative contract, and bond and makes it readily available to be integrated into any workflow, allowing organizations of any size to gain deeper insights into the markets. Clients of the company, which include banks, market makers, quantitative investment firms, asset managers, trading platform vendors, and regulators, now have the most recent data available through GPS-time stamping at the nanosecond level. MayStreet’s platform is so robust and accurate that the Securities and Exchange Commission is even a client.
AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Patrick Flannery to learn more about the company’s mission to make capital markets data accessible and complete, expansion plans to include new asset classes, and the company’s recent funding round.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We just announced our Series A funding round. The round was led by Credit Suisse Asset Management’s NEXT Investors. We raised $21M.
Tell us about the product or service that MayStreet offers.
MayStreet’s market data infrastructure platform delivers the highest-quality, most complete capital markets data available. Combining ultra-low latency platform architecture with high-precision, full depth-of-book data, we allow our clients – which range from banks, market makers, and quantitative investment firms to traditional asset managers, trading platform vendors, and regulators – to gain deeper insights into how global capital markets operate. Our platform delivers both real-time and “near-time” intraday historical data, supporting clients’ firm-wide workflows including trade execution and surveillance, performance analysis, historical backtesting, end-of-day reporting, risk, and compliance, and more.
After years as engineers at high-performance trading firms, my cofounder Michael Lehr and I found that as trading grew ever faster and more reliant on data, few market participants could internally handle the massive technology challenge it presented. On top of that, there were rapidly expanding constituencies inside each of these organizations who needed data – traders, programmers, risk and compliance professionals, quants, etc. – not to mention a regulatory environment in which regulators were making data management a part of their review, meaning lost packets or incorrect timestamps would equal fines. We thought that because of this, these firms would soon begin looking to third-party technology platforms as the answer, so in 2012 Mike and I set out to build just that.
How is MayStreet different?
We believe the quality of our data is what differentiates us. We have built a team of market infrastructure specialists who have taken the mess of market data and rethought how it should work from the inside out. We provide broad global coverage, sourced directly at the trading venue. With GPS-time stamping at the nanosecond level, our clients get the highest-quality, full depth-of-book market data available. In layman’s terms that means that we take virtually every bid to buy and offer to sell a stock, derivative contract, bond, etc. that exists globally and make it available to investors in a unified, simplified, and highly precise manner. That’s no easy task, I can assure you.
When we started eight years ago, it was basically only the super low-latency trading community that cared about what we were doing, but today we are working with some of the most prominent names on Wall Street. In fact, late last year we added perhaps the most prominent – the SEC – to our client mix, as we now provide the market data for their analytics platform, MIDAS.
What market does MayStreet target and how big is it?
Market data has always been critical in the capital markets but given the speed and complexity of today’s markets, it has never been more important. Without the ability to properly collect, consume, transform, and store it, firms just aren’t going to be able to make the decisions needed in the timeframe required. You’ve no doubt heard the new saying that “data is the new oil,” and it’s very true. The space just keeps getting bigger, too – according to a recent report from analyst Burton-Taylor, global spending on financial market data jumped another 5% last year, to $32 billion.
What’s your business model?
We try very hard to work with our clients to tailor solutions to their precise needs, and that extends to the commercial side. So we offer both a straight technology license model or a subscription-based model.
How has COVID-19 impacted your business?
The biggest impact, at least early on, was around system load. Market volatility spiked in late February, which has created a tremendous amount of message traffic for us to handle. For about a six week stretch it was about 2x normal rates – it’s come down a bit but is still far greater than anything we saw in 2019. This has required us to spin up some new AWS servers and keep a close eye on system performance, but – knock wood – we’ve made it through flawlessly thus far.
Beyond that the biggest impact has been on recruiting and training. We are working to significantly scale our headcount, so the lockdown has made hiring and onboarding more of a challenge. But I’ve been very proud of the team – we’ve added a half dozen technologists since the pandemic began and things have gone very smoothly integrating them into the firm.
What was the funding process like?
Credit Suisse has been a great partner. We were first introduced to them a few years ago by folks on their business side that we were working with. We meshed well from the start and have been able to work very collaboratively together.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Well, market turmoil like we’ve seen these last three months certainly makes a raise like this more challenging than under normal circumstances, but by and large, the process went very smoothly. We’re extremely excited to have Credit Suisse on board as our partner as we jointly work to further scale the business
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
In the past year, our business has really gained a tremendous amount of momentum. In late Fall of 2019, we assumed the role of market data provider for the SEC’s Market Information Data Analytics System (MIDAS). Since then, we have been talking with dozens of major industry players about how we can serve their enterprise-wide needs. It’s clear there’s a sea-change underway, and we’re extremely well-positioned to help market participants of all types—banks, market makers, quantitative investment firms, traditional asset managers, trading platform vendors, regulators, and others—navigate it. We’ve been around for almost a decade, but it feels like we’re just getting started.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We have three big goals for the next year or so. First, we’re working to complete our global coverage, adding to the scores of exchanges and alternative trading venues in North America, EMEA, and Asia-Pacific for which we offer data at present. Second, we plan to expand the range of asset classes we support from the current equities, options, futures, and fixed income data we provide today. And third, we have some work to do to further build our team, which will allow us to create new APIs and deliver more platform enhancements, all while providing the level of service people have come to expect from MayStreet.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Obviously, this is a very difficult time, as we face challenges that no one alive today has ever dealt with. But it seems foolish to me to bet against New York. This city and the people here have withstood many tests over the years and time and time again have risen to the challenge. There is no doubt some hard decisions that many companies will have to make over the coming weeks and months if they are to survive, but I do believe that with the right combination of product, perseverance, and luck, people will make it. And even if you don’t, the great thing about entrepreneurs is their willingness to try and try again.
This city and the people here have withstood many tests over the years and time and time again have risen to the challenge. There is no doubt some hard decisions that many companies will have to make over the coming weeks and months if they are to survive, but I do believe that with the right combination of product, perseverance, and luck, people will make it. And even if you don’t, the great thing about entrepreneurs is their willingness to try and try again.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
With the funding, we plan to accelerate our growth through the full globalization of our industry-leading market data infrastructure platform across asset classes, further product development, and expand our sales and marketing presence.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
Oh man, there are just too many to try to name – we are really spoiled here. Our office is on 26th between 6th and 7th, and just in a few block radius of us, there are probably a dozen restaurants that would be one of the best in town in many other cities.
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