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2021 Outlook: David Midgett, Cloud9 Technologies

David Midgett is Chief Technology Officer of Cloud9 Technologies, which provides a voice communications and analytics platform for financial markets.

David Midgett, Cloud9

How was your business impacted in a year that saw so many businesses shifting and cutting back on their plans?
With institutional traders being forced off the traditional trading floor and into the confines of their own home, voice trading mobility has been a prominent topic. Yet, many institutions lacked flexibility, cloud architecture, and the ability to capture voice data because they had been relying on antiquated technology. Through our cloud-based voice communication suite of APIs, Cloud9 was able to provide clients and channel partners with greater flexibility and access to rich metadata, ultimately resulting in enhanced productivity across an industry landscape that is becoming increasingly digitized.

While we had a number of successful developments this year, including new partnerships and integrations – our biggest achievement was increasing our business by 50% since the beginning of March when the pandemic took hold. We saw a major uptick in asset classes across the buy and sell-side.

We were also able to complete a $17.5 million Series B funding round in July that was led by strategic investment from UBS, with participation from existing investors including JP Morgan and Barclays.

What will be the biggest structural themes in institutional trading in 2021?
More than anything, firms are looking for trading solutions that are customizable and elevate their workflows. In 2021, firms will put a greater emphasis on moving beyond legacy technologies and continuing their transition to the cloud. A key part of that will be an underlying voice trading engine that allows them to trade anytime from anywhere and seamlessly communicate with all of their counterparties and access greater pools of liquidity.

There has been a lingering industry apprehension about transitioning to the cloud amidst fears that it’s dangerous. In the New Year, firms will come to the realization that the cloud is not only safe, but it’s the key to successfully accessing the trading floor of the future. Ultimately, this will uncover greater cost savings, elevated flexibility, enhanced data capture, and increased mobility, leading to higher levels of efficiency and greater peace of mind that data is secure and productivity is up.

If you had to give one piece of advice to your customers heading into the New Year on how to enhance their business, what would it be?
Be ready for anything. Heading into this year, there were so many firms that enacted disaster recovery solutions and deployed new technologies to streamline workflows. If you wait until something like a pandemic hits, it’s going to be too late. COVID-19 accelerated the move to a “virtual trading floor” and a more digitized trading ecosystem but it was a catalyst – not the only reason for this evolution. Trading floors as we know them will continue to change as traders uncover the benefits of cloud-based, flexible trading tools, and the ability to capture metadata and efficiently repurpose it for both strategic and regulatory purposes. Stay ahead of that change and equip your teams with the solutions that will comprise the new age of institutional trading.