Daniel Aisen
Jul 1 · 4 min read

The past 3 months have been about rounding out the team. Our main goal was to find additional engineering talent to supplement Allison, Han, and myself, and it’s safe to say we achieved that goal with the addition of Prerak and Beau. We did meet with and interview several other potential team members, and we even extended one other offer, but unfortunately it was turned down. Asking talented people to work for no salary is a tall order! We do feel that we now have all the necessary skills on our team to get us through launch, so any further additions to the team from here on out will just be gravy.

Beyond that, our secondary emphasis this past quarter was continuing to expand and engage our network by meeting more people and producing more content, and we’re pleased with the progress on those fronts as well. This will invariably be one of our points of focus from now on and forever.

Now that the team is assembled and the company foundation is in place, we expect the next 3 months will represent a major shift toward product and technology design, as well as the beginning of our efforts on the regulatory front. We are still a long way from launch, but we are excited to finally be getting back to what we know best: designing and building trading technology.

Major updates

  • Hired Prerak Sanghvi (CTO) and Beau Tateyama (Chief Software Architect)
  • Raised $1.05mm in pre-seed funding
  • Produced a significant amount of content including six articles, and two tools (1, 2).

Goals from our previous update

  • Greater focus on hiring, with a particular emphasis on equity trading technologists

(10/10) This could not have gone better in our wildest dreams.

  • Formalize business plan and financial projections

(0/10) We actually de-prioritized constructing a formal business plan, as we were able to organize a small fundraise without one.

  • Build out research capabilities

(6/10) In order to facilitate an ad hoc TCA project, we built out a research platform which is detailed here. We certainly wouldn’t call this “full” research capabilities, but it’s a solid start.

  • Continue to produce content and engage with our network

(8/10) As mentioned above, we produced several pieces of content this quarter, and we have several more in the pipeline.

Goals for the next 3 months

  • Greater focus on product ideation and design
  • Continued focus on buy side engagement, successful launch of an order analysis tool
  • Experiment with potential technology stacks and start formulating our overall technology plan
  • Engage regulatory consultant and begin B/D filing
  • Identify top three candidate clearing partners

Progress Summary

Here are our full updates across the board:

Technology

  • Our biggest news of the past three months is the addition of Prerak Sanghvi and Beau Tateyama to the team. Prerak and Beau are two of the most talented engineers we’ve ever met, and we feel incredibly lucky to have them on the team. For the full announcement about them joining Proof, please see here.
  • We built out a research platform and basic TCA capabilities.
  • We conducted a broad sweep of available historical tick data providers and selected Polygon.io.

Regulatory

  • No additional updates from last quarter. We are waiting until we have a timeline around our technology build out before initiating our broker-dealer application. We currently anticipate beginning the regulatory process in about 2–3 months.

Product

  • We launched a market data fee calculator and began work on an order analysis tool, which we hope to soft-launch in about a month.
  • We’ve continued to think about the areas in which we can differentiate: better user experience (i.e. enhanced data/visualization), more statistically robust algo design and optimization, etc.
  • We’re still reluctant to commit to many specific key features of the product as we’re so far away from launch, but our ideas are starting to become more concrete.

Sales

  • We didn’t have quite as many meetings over these past 3 months as the initial push, but we did meet with portfolio managers and traders at about 5 firms that we didn’t previously know, and we continue to stay in touch with the rest of our network.
  • Sales continues to be our biggest point of weakness, although we are encouraged by the reception so far. Our plan for launch is still just to identify 5–10 initial adopters that are willing to utilize our execution algorithms for a portion of their flow, which we believe is a modest and attainable goal.
  • We are exploring soliciting non-binding letters of intent from potential early adopters as a way to validate our team’s ability to bring on customers.

Operations

  • We raised an additional $1.05mm from pre-seed investors, bringing our total capital raised to $1.15mm.
  • We set up various additional products and services: Gusto, Brex, Virtual Post Mail, Mailchimp, Upscribe, HelloSign.
  • We had several more conversations with additional potential clearing brokers (INTL, Apex, Wedbush, Cowen).

It’s still a long road ahead, but our excitement is at an all time high now that the team is assembled, and we continue to be emboldened by our progress and small wins. Thank you all again for your encouragement and support!


Proof

Proof is a new institutional equities broker. Launching in 2020.

Daniel Aisen

Written by

Proof

Proof

Proof is a new institutional equities broker. Launching in 2020.

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