Like Level39 in London and other financial technology innovation hubs around the world, Sydneys Stone & Chalk is primarily populated by software entrepreneurs hoping to bring their apps, analytics and other tools to the attention of buyers and investors. By contrast, Metamako is a hardware company that was already making waves in the trading industry when it announced its move into Stone & Chalk last summer. Founded three years ago by Dave Snowdon and his co-CTOs Scott Newham and Charles Thomas, and building on their financial market engineering experience, Metamako develops high-performance network devices specifically for firms that depend on low latency. Its not just about raw speed, as in the nanosecond-measured two-way communications verified in benchmark testing of the companys FPGA (field-programmable gate array) devices. Market players are looking for deterministic latency, a predictability that is more important than latency, Snowdon, 35, asserts. Determinism will help provide a fairness improvement to the markets. Signs that Metamako is delivering on its motto of simplifying networks, reducing latency and increasing flexibility: It has doubled its original team size, to 16, and opened offices in London and New York. Fintech start-ups have a hard time making their first sales, especially to large financial institutions. Metamako found early adopters at high frequency trading firms willing to experiment with offerings when they were still half-baked, Snowdon explains. Now doors have opened at banks, brokerages and exchanges, and in the telecommunications industry. Those users are considering additional ways to apply the technology, such as in security and systems monitoring. Network monitoring is a prerequisite for compliance with Europes Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II), which Snowdon notes had to be delayed in part because of technological shortcomings. MetaWatch, a Metamako application launched in November, addresses part of the problem with highly accurate time-stamping and data capture, he says.
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