Sramana Mitra: Absolutely! So, my follow-on question as I was listening to you as you talked about opening up your API is, What kinds of tools would you like to see third-party developers offer? Do entrepreneurs develop on your platform to provide value? If you were an entrepreneur and if you were to use TradeKing’s API to bring a product to market, where would you look?
Dan Raju: That is a great question. I was going to talk about one of the campus challenges we recently launched that might be relevant for your entrepreneurs. The idea could be as a service provider. There is no way that I can think of all the permutations and combinations my customer wants. I can put them in a box and give them to him, but I am always taking a fair guess. And it is not only me; everybody is doing the same. With the API it creates a defining phase; let me give you a simple example – we had a student at a university in Maryland who wrote us a very simple app, and the app is if you go to TradeKing and you put something in your watch list, it Tweets that someone has put stock A on her watch list, for example. As simple as it sounds, it is very powerful. It is extremely powerful because it matches the code trading community to code trading capabilities with broad social media capabilities, and now you think of all the capabilities that build up from that.
There are so many others. We had a student who said, I am going to develop a small Android [app] on top of your API. In a matter of a couple of weeks, we will be publishing a TradeKing wish list. We want to be on top of this, we are going to publish what we call a “wish list” of all the permutations and combinations we think would be beneficial for TradeKing, and obviously there are some that only we can think of. We are encouraging more innovation on top of that. For example, somebody could be working on providing trading capabilities from Facebook.
There are extremely complex training opportunities right, for example one cancels 19 – trading is such an individual preference. The way it is done it creates amazing set of permutations and combinations. In the past if I had to address that space, I would have had to write all that on the website. I am sure it will create 15 more tools for the customers. Our customers can develop their own capability and remarket these capabilities. Their own business is on top of the core trading engine we provide, and the examples can go on forever. Somebody can write a very simple application that alerts him or her if something happens on an art of state that he has basically replaced. Someone could write a small tool based upon if something happens to a particular stock or equity. Somebody could have one customer who is writing an entire robotic trading engine on top of the API where if something happens he automatically trades his almost unmanned robotic engine. So, the capabilities for people to develop their own innovation and their own platforms without having to launch what is almost an impossible business to get into now exist; they now have a capability they never had before.
SM: Yes. Also, ideas that come to my mind are, for example, there is of course a lot of data, information news, and so on that comes out about each company’s stock, and if there are applications that model those stocks and come up with predictive analysis or predictive models to trade on such information, that is also very interesting.
DR: Actually, Sramana, we have a bunch of students who are looking at news and news-related criteria and trying to do predictive analysis and help to create trading [functions] on top of that. So, the year of permutations and combinations is going to launch. This is what we did; we came up with this concept in the middle of 2010. Long before that we went ahead and launched our API to our customers, we launched a data programmer for API about three or four months ago, and we invited people and said, We are going to take only this many people. To our surprise, the number of people who reached out us and the innovation that was coming in was mind boggling. We could have never served those kinds of customers by creating revenue opportunities in many cases for them and at the same time for us. We went to one university in Maryland and announced a cash prize, saying to the students, If you create apps on top of our API, we will go ahead and announce a cash prize.