The stock market fluctuates quickly, and traders need information in real-time. Unfortunately, the current streaming solutions for stocks, options, and currencies markets experience significant latency. Some news sites refresh every 15-20 minutes, but a lot can change during that time.
Quinton Pike encountered this problem by happenstance about two and a half years ago while working on a project that revolved around predicting stock prices. He quickly realized that getting all that stock data is extremely hard, or very expensive.
“In terms of trading, you need to know what’s happening and then you need to know it before anyone else. All the ones I found were using really old technologies and available only in very specific programming languages. I realized I would have to build it for myself to gather the needed data,” says Pike, who was previously a lead developer at Google.
He merged his interest in financial technology with his developer skills to build Polygon.io, a real-time, open-source API that displays stock and currency data.
Polygon’s API solves the latency problem by directly connecting New York and New Jersey servers to all the major stock exchanges — NYSE, NASDAQ, BATS, IEX and other top exchanges. It displays accurate data within five milliseconds, in comparison to the average of 20 milliseconds for other platforms, with some even approaching a full second.
Pike also took the time to improve the user experience and layout of the data displayed within the tool.
“We take the data, analyze it, and make it available to the users in an organized, simple way. We’re focused on developers as we want their experience to be great, whereas the current data providers are more sales-oriented.”
“We wanted to make a great product and let that speak for itself,” says Pike.
Day traders can actually take the tool to customize the data feeds to their needs, creating visualizations that will help them make more effective decisions about buying and selling.
For example, traders can use simple programming backgrounds to write their own rules — if the stock goes above this price, trade X amount of shares.
“Most of these day traders are self-employed and they need access to quality, reliable data to make their trading decisions,” says Pike. “We [can] support anyone from individuals that just want to have access to real-time stock data all the way up to enterprise brokerage firms.
Polygon.io is currently working with 10 banking institutions, 14 stock exchanges, and 22 crypto-exchanges. Unlike other solutions on the market, the platform allows clients to integrate the API in nearly any programming language.
The Atlanta-based startup is bootstrapped and already profitable. It operates on a SaaS model with tiered pricing for different users.
“The market for this is big. With the creation of Robinhood’s commission-free trading, a lot more people are getting into trading. The Consolidated Tape Association, which combines all of the stock feeds, released that around 3 million people actually pay for stock data — and that’s only U.S. stocks,” says Pike. To grow quickly, the team is in talks with venture capital firms.
Polygon will concentrate on expanding horizontally — think international stock exchanges, commodities, and futures markets — as the infrastructure can scale to a thousand servers.