Kazuhiro Ono of Platinum Analytics Introduces A New Platform for Financial Institutions with New Technology
by Ysa Lauta
Financial Technology or Fintech has recently been growing and most businesses are transitioning into it. Following this trend, Platinum Analytics claims a spot in the game. Platinum Analytics specializes in providing foreign exchange or gold and cross asset solutions for financial institutions and companies. Techshake talked to Chief Financial Officer Kazuhiro Ono to know more about this new platform.
How did Platinum Analytics emerge?
The founders of the platinum all came from Thomson Reuters. While they were working there, they found the system and the platform Thomson Reuters was using, as well as other traditional vendors, were very stereotypical and very old. It wasn’t flexible and specific to the customer's needs. This is why they tried to build up a new platform for the banks and financial institutions using newer technologies. Also, one of the customers that they met while they were working there was asking them to make a platform that focuses on renminbi trading, because there was no good renminbi FX trading platform at that time. So they found the chance of business then. They decided to quit their past jobs and went on a business venture. That was the first story.
How has the pandemic affected the business?
Actually, the pandemic has put us in an advantageous spot. Most of the banks and the financial institutions who are considering using our platform as their system are asking us to fly to their office to have a face to face meeting. But now, because of the situation, they cannot ask us to fly to their office. Thus, we can remotely market our products and ask them to decide without having to meet face to face. This has saved us a lot of money and effort, and made our business more efficient than ever.
During this time of uncertainty, how did Platinum Analytics deal with the pandemic?
We have been running the business from two locations: Shanghai and Singapore, and both of the office people are working closely via SMS and video calls even before the pandemic. So we didn;t encounter a big change. Of course, we cannot fly to the office in Shanghai, and the Shanghai employees cannot come to Singapore. So sometimes, there's some inconvenience with that, but it’s not much of a big deal.
What challenges have you encountered so far and how did you resolve it?
I think it’s most difficult for the management people, especially the CTO and CEO, because they cannot fly back and forth between Shanghai and Singapore. So it can be a bit difficult for them to maintain the motivations of the workers, especially in the Singapore office, because both of them are currently staying in Shanghai. That is the biggest downside for us. What we do is to make sure that communication is constant by having regular calls with the employees in Singapore. So far, that has worked.
What is your outlook for FinTech in the next few years?
My understanding is that there have been a lot of B2C type of FinTech companies and startups in the last several years. Now, the big players like banks, security companies and big corporations are coming into the same market. Some of the startups were bought out by the big companies, and some went bankrupt and then recreated their business. The fate of FinTech then is moving to a new phase. The players who have enough capital will get the bigger market quickly, and the difference in technology is not so significant now. So I think most of the B2C FinTech will see a very tough time in the next few years. However, for the B2B market like us, there aren’t so many players. Also, the B2B area is not something that big capital guys pay much attention to. B2B FinTech is trying to change the main system of the banks. But the mainstream tech guys in the banks still use old style stereotypes and cannot adapt to change so quickly. So there are big advantages for players like us. I think in the next few years, the B2B FinTech business will be more focused on rather than the B2C areas. As you know, for AI and deep technology, most of the companies can get those now. It used to be only for the cutting edge startup companies who had very talented AI coders. But these days, it's not so difficult. And you can just get the same code from somewhere. So there is no difference between the big companies and the startups in that area.
What are your goals for the year 2021?
We’re trying to raise some money from investors. Once we can get enough investment, we can expand our team, enough to accommodate all the business the banks are asking us to do. The problem we have now is we are declining some of the customers because we do not have enough engineers and the staff in our team. And for the development, we have to pay upfront. So we need some liquidity in our account to expand our team. Once we get the funding, we will be ready for the next big jump or even for the IPOs. That's our plan. One of our focuses for this year is the ECN or electronic communication network business. Once we set up the ECN for the offshore renminbi market successfully, we will expand that platform to other minor currencies. We would like to be the number one player in FX minor currencies platform. Another focus will be AI trading algo development, in which we will put more resources and set up a small investment fund to show our AI trading performance to investors. Those two business areas will give solid business foundation for Platinum to grow into major financial system providers in the market.
To know more about Platinum Analytics, you may visit here.