Financial services is an area of the business world that requires lightning-fast communication. Currencies and exchange rates can change incredibly rapidly, and the necessity for technology that can keep up is becoming ever more present. So, we spoke with Stefan Ott at Confinity Solutions to find out more about how his firm is tackling this need.
In doing so, it has been crowned 2021’s Most Innovative Global FinTech Startup. Discover more as part of our interview with Stefan about the work and success of Confinity Solutions.
For five years now, Confinity Solutions has been changing the game and upping the level of excellence delivered in the financial technology and financial services sector. As has already been mentioned, the work of the financial industry moves at a pace that is significantly more rapid than many others, with split-second decisions being the difference between money gained and money lost. People’s very livelihoods hinge upon decisions that are made in very high-intense pressure environments. In these scenarios, it is imperative that those people making these crucial decisions have access to the fastest possible technology that allows them to keep up with what is happening out in the world of financial transactions. This is exactly where Confinity Solutions comes into the picture. Founded by Stefan following his decision to buy out software from IBM in 2016, the work of Confinity Solutions is focused around developing high-volume and low-latency messaging solutions. Perhaps the greatest example of this, and the firm’s key success to date, is Confinity Low Latency Messaging (CLLM), which is the successor product of IBM’s WebSphere MQ LLM.
Having moved on from working at IBM to then founding his own business with a clear vision of what the future of financial technology should be, Stefan is a rare example of someone being correctly described as a visionary. His understanding of the industry and his desire to make the world of financial technology better has pushed Stefan to achieve bigger and better things with the software that he acquired from IBM. We at Corporate Vision had the privilege of being able to speak with Stefan about his role in starting the business, and how his involvement with the technology goes back many years beyond the foundation of Confinity Solutions. Upon beginning the interview with Stefan, it soon became abundantly clear that his passion for the technology and work of Confinity Solutions was seemingly limitless.
“Confinity Solutions was established in 2016 to acquire the source code of two products from IBM, namely WebSphere Front Office (WFO), a market data distribution infrastructure, and WebSphere MQ LLM, a low-latency messaging software. Together with the products, Confinity Solutions also took over responsibility for the service and support of IBM’s customers using one of these products. Confinity Solutions was considered a FinTech start-up, but with two mature software products and an established customer base. I was working at IBM before, and was familiar with both pieces of software.”
Unfortunately for those working with the IBM software, various decisions were made that meant the software fell into a sort of obscurity. Product strategies were bandied around, and new product names were created, but they were not names that Financial Markets’ clients and customers were familiar with. Not content to leave the software in the lurch, Stefan took it upon himself to found Confinity Solutions and created a brighter future for the two products and the Fintech industry. Now, almost five years on from the company’s inception, Stefan has engineered Confinity Solutions into a place where it is fully deserving of the title of 2021’s Most Innovative Global FinTech Startup from Corporate Vision Magazine. Stefan kindly elaborated further on the beginnings of the firm.
“Initially, I wanted to call it Confinity as an amalgamation of consulting, financial, and IT. However, the founder of Paypal actually wanted to call his product Confinity, and still had the domain. Instead, the Solutions was added and Confinity Solutions was born. Since 2016, I’ve also worked with IBM in a partnership to ensure that they can actually still market and resell our two products, Confinity LLM, or CLLM, and Confinity Market Data System, or CMDS. This is all we do, and around these two products, there is also consultancy and other various forms of excellence. When I founded the firm, we were focused on owning the IP and utilising the knowhow to establish partnerships with a number of worldwide companies that could serve customers on a global basis.”
Perhaps the greater of the two products that Confinity Solutions now offers is its low-latency messaging service, or the Confinity Low Latency Messaging (CLLM), which is the successor product of IBM’s WebSphere MQ LLM. Having successfully agreed upon a deal, Confinity Solutions took control of the software that IBM had allowed to fall into obscurity and die a slow death. Determined to bring it back to life and put it in the hands of those who would need and use it on a daily basis, Stefan built his firm from the ground up to be an outstanding advocate for the good that financial technology can do. Upon speaking with Stefan, it quickly becomes a great deal more clear on exactly how much the importance of financial technology has grown in an era of lightning-quick decision making and financial transacting.
“We have given these products a future, and started a major product renewal and overhaul. In November 2020, we launched our first FPGA-based successor product for Confinity LLM. Having worked in global organisations on a worldwide level myself, including with roles for Dt. Boerse, Reuters, and IBM, my focus has always been to be local to our customers. We listen to our users, having established a CLLM user group back in 2017, and always ask them to play an active part in the future development of CLLM. Together with our product strategy to keep CLLM as a top ‘state-of-the-art’ leading edge software product, and the latest CLLM 4.0 nicely underpins this.”
Technology and financial technology services is one thing, but Confinity Solutions has had to work hard to ensure that the technology serves the client in the best way possible. Whilst they were still owned by those at IBM, both the products offered were traditionally targeted towards clients in Financial Markets, including those working in exchanges, as well as brokerages and other financial entities that work in the global market. CLLM in particular has proven to be a massive hit with clients all over the world as a messaging infrastructure that they can rely on. Due to its features and capabilities, the software allows customers to create a fair marketplace or stock exchange market by enabling low-latency messaging across the board.
CLLM is undoubtedly best in class when it comes to reliable multicast messaging, and it actually boasts more than nineteen patents to ensure that it remains the king of this proverbial hill. The “predictability” of low latency messaging such as CLLM also makes it a prime candidate for use in cases outside of the Financial Markets. For instance, the work of the Automotive and Telecommunications industries can also benefit massively from what the Confinity Solutions has to offer in terms of messaging. That instantaneous and reliable delivery and reception of a message that is of the utmost importance can be the difference between success and failure, and that is why the success of Confinity Solutions in bringing this technology back to life is so deserving of recognition.
Of course, after speaking with Stefan further, it became clear to see that he recognises too that the success of the firm would not be nearly as outstanding without the people that have made it happen. Stefan kindly explained more about his decision to bring in specialists and experts whose knowledge of software and Financial Markets rivals only that of his own.
“Our staff plays a very important role in the success of Confinity Solutions. Other than subject matter expertise in software development, I recruited my team with a focus on different cultures and diverse language skills. This allows us to serve our worldwide customer base in the best possible manner, such as conversing with them in their native language. We may work with clients all over the world, but we have staff who have Chinese language skills, whilst there are those who hail from Venezuela and India. Understanding our client’s global cultures is imperative to providing them with the right software and services within their field of interest.”
Despite all the success that Confinity Solutions has achieved in the last five years since its inception, there have not been times without challenge and opposition. As many business were affected by the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19, so too was Confinity Solutions. However, true to his nature as a visionary and someone who can see a way out when all else seems hopeless, Stefan knuckled down and found a way to ensure that the firm could still deliver for its clients. Most of its customers and exchanges that is serves needed software that could cope with the changes to society that were coming. Remote transactions and more mean that software and particularly that of low latency and reliable messaging had to be up to scratch. Fortunately, Stefan and the team at Confinity Solutions made sure theirs was.
“As a result of the pandemic, we had to establish processes and measures to guarantee a continued 24/7 support for our customers. Since some of our staff is based in India, Germany, Hong Kong, and New York, we have introduced strict rules so that two staff with the same skill set and profile do not work in the same office room and on the same shift. Spreading out the talent all over the world has proven to be fruitful for us. We can also already state that we are fully digitalized, and only a few critical resources required to be onsite.”
Looking ahead to the future, there is much to be excited for from a financial technology standpoint. There is always new technology being innovated and brought to market, but the focus from Confinity Solutions and Stefan stretches beyond that into more specific and specialized areas. As we begin to close out our time together in this interview, Stefan reveals to us some of the plans that the firm has for the remainder of 2021, and what lies beyond.
“Initially, we have focused on reviving the products and stabilizing them. Since 2019, we have been working on a new next-generation CLLM product which is utilizing leading edge FPGA technology. CLLM 4.0 (FPGA version) was launched in December 2020, and we are working with a few EAP customers in the first quarter to try and stabilize it. Q2 of 2021 and beyond is our target for rollout in established customer bases and new customer bases alike in the Financial Markets industry. At the same time, we are targeting the Automotive industry as a potential area of great success and growth.”
Ultimately, the work of Stefan and Confinity Solutions is nothing short of exceptional within the financial technology space. Markets are ever-changing and the world is changing more than ever at this moment in time, following the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Stefan’s work has seen Confinity Solutions become a key partner for so many financial institutions, and it has seen the revival and reinstatement of some key technologies and software products. In essence, the brilliance of Confinity Solutions and Stefan is certainly something worthy of recognition across the world, and we at Corporate Vision cannot wait to see what the future holds for this outstandingly innovative business.
For business enquiries contact Stefan Ott at Confinity Solutions GmbH via https://confinity-solutions