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Trumid Emerges From Pack

A laser focus on helping corporate bond traders work more efficiently has elevated Trumid from one of many startup fixed income trading platforms seven years ago, to a leading player right below the industry’s top tier.

 Bryan Harkins, Trumid

“Trumid was founded on the need for tech-enabled solutions, and to help traders improve their workflows as the bond market goes increasingly electronic,” said Bryan Harkins, Chief Revenue Officer at New York-based Trumid.

Trumid matched its first trades in 2015, when corporate bond electronic trading platforms were springing up like mushrooms after a rain, each claiming their own unique solution to the liquidity puzzle.

Fast forward to 2022, and many trading platforms have either closed up shop or folded into larger organizations. The biggest, longest-established names such as MarketAxess, Tradeweb and Bloomberg remain on top, and some of the upstarts are still in business. But from the 2015 contingent of 40-some-odd platforms, only Trumid is notable for not only surviving, but growing into an established platform with nine-figures capital raised, top executives hired and retained, and a market share in U.S. corporate bonds north of 5%.

“Trumid has shown over the past several years they can successfully and quickly pivot to meet changing client needs with new trading mechanisms and data products,” said Kevin McPartland, Head of Market Structure and Technology Research at Coalition Greenwich. “That ability is in large part what has allowed them to grow market share in this incredibly competitive market segment.”

Harkins joined Trumid in September 2021 after 21 years in equities and derivatives, including senior roles at exchange operators Cboe Global Markets, BATS, Direct Edge, and Nasdaq. The firm is led by Co-CEOs Ronnie Mateo, who founded the firm, and Mike Sobel, who is also President. Harkins isn’t the only equities expat: Vlad Khandros, long-time UBS market structure and liquidity exec, joined Trumid as Head of Corporate Development in February 2021.

Harkins said customers come to Trumid for the people, stay for the trading experience. “We talk a lot about electronification of the bond market and the improved tools, but it really comes down to getting customers to put their trust in your platform,” he said. “Our management team and our sales team have deep relationships in the industry, and that helps us get in the door. Once we are in the door, we deliver an outstanding product that we improve on a daily basis.”

Corporate bonds is a vast, fragmented and non-standardized market, and outside a small top echelon of frequently traded issues, liquidity is challenged. There is no single solution to enable efficient trading; rather, the industry consensus is that institutions need to take a multi-pronged approach to liquidity sourcing, spanning various protocols within electronic trading, plus the old standby of voice.

Trumid’s evolution has tracked that of the broader market. The firm started out as an anonymous dark book, then later built a fully disclosed attributed protocol, where sell-side dealers stream prices to more than 625 institutional buy-side customers. Trumid intends to roll out new protocols later this year, with the goal of offering a full set of trading solutions to users.

“We’ll have a complete one-stop-shop ecosystem for our customers,” Harkins said.

Think Big, Execute Small

Trumid completed a $208 million funding round in October 2021, following a $50 million funding round in January 2021. Other votes of confidence in Trumid last year were J.P. Morgan joining the platform in December, and a partnership with Goldman Sachs that was announced in January.

Ashwin Kumar, Industry Partner at private equity frm Motive Partners, which led the October funding, said at the time: “Trumid’s strong performance demonstrates its ability to deliver efficient trade execution and support global credit trading through outstanding technology. We see great potential for the creation of long-term value in the business.”

Harkins noted that Trumid’s growth has been especially strong recently, buoyed by the support of more sell-side bond dealers who are disseminating their prices via Trumid. The firm’s 5% market share was less than 2% in early 2020.

From a career perspective, Harkins said he was drawn to the opportunity, and the fun, of being part of a fast-growing fintech firm in an evolving and transforming asset class.

“We have a saying at Trumid: think big, but execute small,” Harkins said. “The future is about executing on our vision – staying maniacally focused on delivering products and improving efficiencies for our customers.”