A Start-up That’s Going Places: The uTrade Solutions Journey

It has been a big year for uTrade Solutions, with the future looking just as bright. The company has recently been chosen for a coveted global mentoring programme, an honour that followed within months of being chosen as one of India’s start-ups to watch. A Chandigarh based software firm that operates on a B2B model, uTrade provides open source trading technologies to capital markets firms.

The company’s go-to-market model encompasses an open source trading platform as well as a customizable enterprise product. Open source has its strengths once the user community is built, until then, most institutional financial firms prefer to have a proprietary licensed product that has been customized to suit their particular needs, points out company founder Kunal Nandwani. uTrade’s solutions include  multi-asset trading platforms, algo systems, risk management systems, pre and post trade analytics and data analytics products.

Accelerating Traction
Started in 2011, the company is the brainchild of Kunal Nandwani, Founder and CEO, who wanted to bring trading technologies to the masses. He envisioned that trading technology and the use of software would see strong growth in coming years, and while the competition was fierce, especially in the international scenario, his idea was to build in India, a developing market, and his home country, first. Nandwani founded the firm along with Mayank Mathur, Harwinder Sidhu and Ashish Grover. The four founders bring a mix of software knowledge paired with investment banking and software expertise, garnered while working at various well known firms.

Going where no Indian firm has gone before
Nandwani, who worked in  London for five years before he came back to India to start uTrade, has recently found himself back in the European capital where he is currently representing uTrade at the FinTech Innovation Lab, the 12 week financial technology accelerator program run collaboratively by Accenture and London’s top financial institutions. Of the seven start-ups chosen to participate in this year’s Lab, uTrade is the only company from India.

During the programme, participants are mentored by senior industry leaders from the financial services space, venture capitalists and angel investors. Participants are given the opportunity to develop and present their offerings to Tier1 Investment banks, and connect with potential investors and customers from top institutions. This honour follows on the heels of uTrade’s inclusion in NASSCOM’s Emerge 50 list 2013, which showcases the hottest start-ups in the Indian software market.

uTrade is also one of the companies being mentored under the Orbit Shift Program by NASSCOM, an initiative that gives entrepreneurs the tools to make sweeping changes to take their organization to the next level, through focused workshops and goal setting sessions. Being recognized by and involved in NASSCOM’s initiatives has helped put uTrade on the map in the Indian landscape, says Nandwani.

Getting on the Map
uTrade’s client base is India-centric, with 75% of its business coming from brokers and financial institutions within the country. The company has over 35 employees and more than 15 clients in India, including the BSE and international clients in London including Marex Spectron (global commodities broker) and GMEX (fixed income exchange). The company has also picked up a few clients in Singapore, Dubai and London, and has plans for a London office later this year.

The bottom-line is that uTrade has grown very quickly in a span of just a few years, with revenue growth achieved at over 400% in this year. When the company began, their competition included big names and numbers; companies that were in the one hundred million to half a billion market cap. Today, a few of those companies no longer exist, whereas uTrade has succeeded and stayed on, gaining a reputation and rewards along the way. The secret behind the company’s success? A combination of hard work and luck, says Nandwani.

He also points to adaptability as a key differentiator. We came into the market with certain notions, but markets move faster than you can imagine and we had to think to the future while keeping short term goals in mind; we’ve adapted a lot, and are good at it. But it is important not just to adapt for short term gains but instead keeping a long term strategy in mind. After all, long term is comprised of various short terms together It is this combination of adaptability, diversification and focus that Nandwani believes are key to uTrade’s winning formula.

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