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The 2016 Tech 50: Brian Conlon

The First Derivatives CEO moves down to No. 41 from No. 37 on the Tech 50 ranking.

Brian Conlon
Chief Executive Officer
First Derivatives

For more than a decade and a half, starting in 1998, First Derivatives was a sales and services partner of Kx Systems, whose high-performance database software is widely deployed by Wall Street banks and others in the securities industry. In October 2014, First Derivatives upped its minority stake in Kx to 65 percent, and 13 months later First Derivatives CEO Brian Conlon assumed the same position at Kx, with an eye on growth opportunities not only in finance but in other sectors with a need for big-data analytics, and in the emerging Internet of Things. “We retained the Kx brand because we know the value and have always respected the philosophy and ethos” of Kx and its technology, says Conlon, 50, a former SunGard Data Systems consultant who founded Newry, Northern Ireland–based First Derivatives in 1996. “The Kx team has really embraced the fact that FD is ready to invest in the technology and bring it into many interesting and exciting areas.” Indeed, Conlon says sales in oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications and utilities were instrumental in the 41 percent increase in revenue, to £117 million ($171 million), and 51 percent rise in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, to £23.3 million, in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2016. IEX Group (see Brad Katsuyama, No. 24) has used Kx’s kdb+ platform since its 2013 launch as an alternative trading system; the Securities and Exchange Commission became a customer last year; and in April, Thomson Reuters (see David Craig, No. 12) chose First Derivatives and Kx to power its Velocity Analytics streaming data service. First Derivatives unveiled its R&D division, FD Labs, in Ottawa last September. Teams there and in Dublin and Sydney are working on machine learning and robotics, and on what Conlon terms “an inhibitor to the propagation of blockchain”: the limited number of transactions that can be registered on the distributed ledger at a given time. “Because our software is focused around volume and velocity of data, we’re trying to come up with some interesting techniques,” Conlon says.

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The 2016 Tech 50
1. Catherine
Bank of America Corp.
2. Jeffrey Sprecher
Intercontinental Exchange
3. Lance Uggla
4. Phupinder Gill
CME Group
5. Shawn Edwards and Vlad Kliatchko
6. R. Martin Chavez
Goldman Sachs Group
7. Robert Goldstein
8. Adena Friedman
9. Deborah Hopkins
Citi Ventures
10. Daniel Coleman
KCG Holdings
11. Stephen Neff
Fidelity Investments
12. David Craig
Thomson Reuters
13. Michael Spencer
14. Michael Bodson
Depository Trust & Clearing Corp.
15. Charles Li
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing
16. Chris Concannon
BATS Global Markets
17. Blythe Masters
Digital Asset Holdings
18. David Rutter
19. Neil Katz
D.E. Shaw & Co.
20. Lee Olesky
Tradeweb Markets
21. Richard McVey
MarketAxess Holdings
22. Seth Merrin
Liquidnet Holdings
23. Robert Alexander
Capital One Financial Corp.
24. Brad Katsuyama
IEX Group
25. Antoine Shagoury
State Street Corp.
26. David Gledhill
DBS Bank
27. Lou Eccleston
TMX Group
28. Andreas Preuss
Deutsche BÖrse
29. Dan Schulman
PayPal Holdings
30. Scott Dillon
Wells Fargo & Co.
31. Mike Chinn
S&P Global Market Intelligence
32. Craig Donohue
Options Clearing Corp.
33. Gary Norcross
Fidelity National Information Services
34. Steven O'Hanlon
35. Sebastián Ceria
36. Michael Cooper
BT Radianz
37. Tyler Kim
38. Neal Pawar
AQR Capital Management
39. David Harding
Winton Capital Management
40. Chris Corrado
London Stock Exchange Group
41. Brian Conlon
First Derivatives
42. Jim Minnick
43. Stephane Dubois
44. Mazy Dar
45. Yasuki Okai
NRI Holdings America
46. Kim Fournais
Saxo Bank
47. Jock Percy
48. Robert Schifellite
Broadridge Financial Solutions
49. Brian Sentance
Xenomorph Software
50. Pieter van der Does

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