Sell-Side Technology Awards 2017: Best Sell-Side Web-Based Development Environment—OpenFin


New York-based OpenFin holds onto its crown in the best sell-side web-based development environment category in this year’s SST Awards, fighting off tough competition with its Chromium-based desktop operating layer that has been enthusiastically adopted by a number of major sell-side institutions that are looking to upgrade to HTML5 technology to power trading activities.

As the sell side moves away from entrenched Java, .NET and Flash-based technologies toward HTML5, they require the capabilities to facilitate that migration. OpenFin’s adapters enable users to maintain existing technologies crucial to trading ecosystems while migrating to newer, HTML5-based systems. The OpenFin operating layer is currently used by over 100,000 licensed users across the capital markets for both client-facing applications, such as single-dealer platforms, and internal, front-office applications.

The OpenFin desktop operating layer works in much the same way as the iOS or Android operating systems, sitting on desktops enabling the instant deployment of applications built within Agile development environments, with communication and interoperability between each other and other applications installed on the desktop via a series of new plug-ins. Those plug-ins allow for integration with Microsoft Excel, Bloomberg and other applications, while also offering the ability to simplify application rollouts between platform providers and end-user firms.

The underlying technology, Chromium, is an open-source web browser project from which Google Chrome draws its source code and a new version is rolled out every six weeks by the tech giant. OpenFin has spent much of the previous year ensuring that it keeps up with Google’s update schedule, ensuring that its operating layer technology continues to perform at peak efficiency.

OpenFin is seeking to establish itself as the industry standard technology for both the sell and the buy side in terms of development environments, and to that end has established an advisory board and architecture working group for the platform, including the presence of six sell-side banking institutions. In February this year, OpenFin raised $15 million in Series B funding led by JPMorgan, Bain Capital Ventures, and Euclid Opportunities, the venture funding arm of the NEX Group. Venture capital firms Nyca Partners, Pivot Investment Partners, and DRW Venture Capital also participated in the round, in addition to a number of angel investors and industry executives. The new capital will be used to expand the firm’s staff count in both its New York and London locations, as well as provide the necessary bandwidth to increase its focus on existing products and the development of new ones.

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