AFTAs 2020: Best Third-Party Technology Vendor CEO or CIO—Mazy Dar (OpenFin)

AFTAs

There’s a saying that smooth seas don’t make for skillful sailors—well, 2020 was anything but smooth, but it would appear that OpenFin sailed along just fine. Despite the disruption brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, not only did the finance-specific operating-system provider not have to lay anyone off, the company actually started hiring staff to keep up with demand before the end of the year. For Mazy Dar, OpenFin’s co-founder and CEO, it’s this continuity during a tumultuous period that he’s most proud of.

“I’m really proud of the fact that we made the decision really early that we were going to do everything we could to keep our team together, and we did that—we didn’t lose anybody,” Dar says. “In fact, demand has kept up and we’ve grown the team.”

While Dar’s leadership skills should be commended, he was named the best vendor CEO at this year’s AFTAs because of how integral OpenFin has become in the industry in regards to perhaps the most important trend that’s currently unfolding in the capital markets—desktop application interoperability. The company, which was launched by Dar and Chuck Doerr a decade ago, aims to modernize and democratize the way applications are developed and deployed to desktops across the industry, and ultimately the way in which the industry collaborates and innovates. 

OpenFin deploys more than 1,200 desktop applications across 225,000 desktops in more than 1,500 buy-side and sell-side firms in 60-plus countries. It has a range of clients, from Barclays, RBC, HSBC, and BNP Paribas, to buy-side firms like AllianceBernstein, to vendors like FactSet, IPC, and Luminex. The company has also closed four investment rounds, including the 2019 series C round where it pulled in $22 million with Wells Fargo, Barclays, and HSBC.

Dar has high hopes for the vendor, and those hopes were buttressed in part by the pandemic, which proved the need for flexibility and interoperability to avoid disruption. 

“If you had told me that we’d move so quickly to being an all-remote team and that we would basically not miss a beat, I would have been skeptical,” he says. “But we did that and it happened very quickly, and we’re hearing the same thing from our customers, which is gratifying.” 

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