Mosaic Smart Data was born directly out of the challenges its founder and CEO, Matthew Hodgson faced in his career working as a senior trader in fixed income markets. Despite the massive size of the fixed income market, which is worth about 100 trillion globally, the availability of data-driven insight for banks on the deals they are making with clients is often remarkably rudimentary.
Matthew always wanted to ask questions like, “who are my most profitable clients?” “Which ones aren’t trading with me as much as I would like them to?” and “how can I win back their business?” he also added, “If I was running a supermarket, I would know exactly what the answers to those questions were. But in an investment bank, we just didn’t have the data in the right shape to answer these fundamental business questions.”
Eventually, Matthew came up with the idea to build the systems that everyone would need in the banks to make the data available to the traders to do their jobs more effectively. Initially, Matthew and his team tried to build it in-house, but because of the way banks are set up, and the scale of the technological challenge, that wasn’t possible. Later they realized the easiest way to do this was to set up an independent start-up and work with the banks to help them implement the Mosaic technology to fit their needs.
Journey of Mosaic Smart Data
“Starting a company looks easy from the outside but can be enormously challenging.”- says Matthew. He completely focussed on the timing of launching Mosaic Smart Data’s new software ensuring ‘product-market fit.’ Matthew believes, this is an iterative process and requires relentless dedication to find the exact pain point customers feel and then solve for it. However, it’s all about timing, and launching too early can lead to failure as the market is not ready yet. On the other hand, going too late can lead to new competitions as new entrants are already competing away market share and profitability. This is the single most important decision for early-stage companies to consider and this balancing act cannot be sufficiently emphasized.
Matthew says, “It’s vitally important to make sure that the product you are launching has a sustainable proposition and is extensible.” He and his team members are often asked about Mosaic Smart Data’s roadmap for new features and functions looks like and this drives the team’s thinking around ensuring that it remains relevant to its clients. That being said, sometimes it makes sense to take bold risks in anticipation of client demand and this requires deep analysis.
Under Matthew’s leadership, the organization has always focused on accessing broad networks which opens up the avenues to partner with other complementary businesses. One thing must be remembered, a business can’t build everything by itself, so one needs to focus on the existing competitive advantage and outsource where he/she can get to the market faster.
When Self-Belief is a Driving Force
Building a technology like Mosaic is always a huge undertaking. Matthew believes no one has built this kind of real-time and predictive analytics system for FICC (Fixed Income Currencies & Commodities) markets before, so he and his team were breaking new ground.
Matthew says, “At the very beginning, I’d always ask myself why the Apple for fixed income analytics wasn’t available and so that then became the goal – to build a platform that offered the beauty and intuition of an Apple product that masked the enormous complexity and computation behind the user’s experience.”
To that end, the entire team of Mosaic needed the self-belief that it was possible and its designers and engineers were capable of delivering on those objectives. However, at the same time, the team had to remain focused on the micro details and flawless execution necessary to capture the imagination of the biggest players in the financial markets.
Matthew believes, “You need some really powerful analytics which will interrogate the vast flows of trade data to get the information you need. But, beyond that, you also need to find a way to present that data in an intuitive, graphical way so the trader or salesperson can very quickly look at their Mosaic dashboard and get the information straight away.”
The firm has put a lot of effort into building something beautiful and a joy to use, as well as bringing incredibly powerful real-time analytics into the hands of the trading and sales desks.
Data Analytics is the Future
According to Matthew, Data analytics is going to become the cornerstone of a bank’s competitive advantage. One of the very interesting trends Matthew and his team at Mosaic have seen recently, illustrates, although banks are in many cases reducing their technology spend, they are putting more money into purchasing market data. At the same time, venues are charging more for the trade data services which they offer, reflecting the value that data represents to trading institutions.
With the leaps forward that Mosaic Smart Data is seeing in machine learning and analytics more broadly, the banks can see the potential that data holds to improve the performance of their trading desks, picking out trends and patterns that no human could compute at the speed of thought. That is why they are prepared to spend so much on this data.
However, in many cases, they are underutilizing the data which they already hold. Banks’ trade data is spread across their organization in different databases and held in different formats. If banks bought that data together into one secure, standardized data lake, it could speed up their big data adoption and slash the cost of buying in market data at the same time.
When we asked Matthew to provide a few suggestions for young entrepreneurs he says, “I think it comes down to building the best team. As the founder of a start-up, you cannot possibly do everything or be intimately involved in every decision.” He adds, “You have to find people who you really trust and are the very best at what they do and then give them the space to perform. My role is then to make sure that everyone is pulling in the same direction and ensuring we are making progress.”
New entrepreneurs need to remain positive under the most challenging times as teams will respond positively to consistency and a ‘can-do-never-say-die’ attitude. Matthew always keeps reminding himself to operate from a transformational rather than transactional perspective. With software such as Mosaic’s, it is focused on improving the clients’ profitability and market share and that requires consultative sales and deep domain expertise.
He adds, “If you know what you are talking about, it’s only a matter of time before you can transform your clients’ environment and as a consequence, the transaction with them and invoice will follow.”