If Nader Shwayhat, CEO of fintech firm of GreenKey Technologies, has his way every conversation on the trading floor will be instantly recorded, transcribed and stored as soon as it happens. As banks and hedge funds pay ever-closer attention to bad behaviour after a litany of scandals, his firm uses an AI-driven speech recognition tool to keep tabs on the trading floor.
Shwayhat is a veteran of venture-backed fintech businesses focused on trading and big-data analytics and holds patents on chat-based trading communication technologies. He said that advanced voice interfaces and AI-driven speech recognition represent the next wave of innovation on trading floors.
“When you look at the trader voice market, which is based on economic models and technologies that are decades old, we haven’t seen disruptive innovation yet, but we’re looking to change the entire definition of a voice turret,” Shwayhat said.
“We essentially created an app that can be installed on a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer, which offers a lot more capability aside from being able to focus on the data that is in the phone calls,” he said.
“We’re going to be scaling and growing the business over the next 24 months, with a lot of growth in the New York City area, Singapore and Hong Kong,” Shwayhat said. “We’ll be scaling our support services and sales staff here in New York and internationally as well – in Europe, mainly London, and Asia, we’ll primarily be hiring in the front office, and the development team managed out of Chicago will be expanding as well.”
“WebRTC is what our core stack is based on,” Shwayhat said. “We’re hiring developers in Chicago, and data science is a massive aspect of what we do, so we’ll look to add PhDs in data science.
“Between full-time employees and advisory consultant staff our headcount is currently around 20, and I can envision that doubling or tripling within the next 12-to-18 months, with approximately two-thirds of the hiring to be in New York, London and Hong Kong.”
Back in 2004, Shwayhat co-founded Pivot, an instant-messaging startup geared toward financial services that was spun off from his previous employer Eze Castle Integration and eventually bought by CME Group, a derivatives exchange.
Post-acquisition, he became the new parent’s global head of sales and marketing and co-founded CME Direct, an internal, acquisition-driven startup offering technology tools for traders.
Most recently, Shwayhat was the global head of sales and business development for Novus Partners, a portfolio intelligence company specializing in big data and analytics for institutional investors and asset managers.
Like many successful fintech entrepreneurs, Shwayhat is an engineer. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a Master’s degree in financial and operations engineering from the University of Michigan.
What career advice can he give to tech-savvy students interested in a career in financial services or fintech?
“Financial services is one of the largest employers of tech graduates in the country, specifically the market we play in, financial technology,” Shwayhat said. “Fintech is a massive area, and beyond the traditional banking, consulting and trading skills sets, finance and math are primary.
“Computer science probably one of the most valuable majors in financial services, because every trader is having to also be a quant developer in their own right,” he said. “Bankers have to have tech skills to evaluate M&A opportunities, beyond the finance and math backgrounds that people traditionally think about.
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