TruMid, a bond-trading startup that has raised money from venture capitalist Peter Thiel and legendary investor George Soros, has undergone a big shake-up.
The business has made numerous changes in its senior ranks, with a new leadership team put in place in the early part of this year. The firm has also seen a number of departures, including some of the well-known Wall Street traders who joined the firm in its early days.
TruMid is also readying the launch of a new trading platform, necessitating an internal shift away from client-focused salespeople to technology talent.
Ravi Singh, a former Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs banker who joined the firm in early 2015, has stepped up to become chairman of the board.
Andy Stewart, who was global cohead of BlackRock Alternative Investors until mid-2015, joined earlier this year as executive partner. And former Barclays trader Mike Sobel has been named president.
The firm has hired more than 10 employees since the start of the year, according to a person familiar with the firm, most of whom are focused on technology. Headcount is now at about 40 people, the person said.
At the same time, there have been departures among the firm’s client-focused “producers”: Former Goldman Sachs traders Chris Ruggiero has joined Citigroup, for example. Kelly Maier, another Goldman Sachs alum, and Michael Gorun, a former Deutsche Bank trader, are no longer listed on the firm’s website.
TruMid is one of several firms trying to take advantage of increased interest in electronic bond trading at a time when many are complaining about reduced liquidity.
The company started out trading high-yield and distressed bonds, and it added investment-grade bonds late last year. Trading is focused on 10-minute periods called swarms, with the idea being that having small windows of trading focuses liquidity in specific periods of time.
The firm initially focused on signing up clients, with a heavy focus on what the firm calls “producers,” or client-focused salespeople. The firm has now added more than 250 institutions, and it has had trade volume of close to $4 billion since launching, with an average trade size of over $2 million.
The firm is also close to rolling out a new trading platform. The firm launched using a trading platform created by the trading technology specialist The Beast Apps, a firm run by industry veteran Vinayek Singh.
The company is still running that platform but plans to launch a new platform built in-house this spring.
The fund raised $27 million in October, with Thiel participating alongside a private investment fund managed by Soros Fund Management and Shumway Capital.
“We along with other participants are learning a lot as we go, and we’re getting qualitative and quantitative feedback and analysis, and we are committed to continuing to innovate and improving the product,” Sobel told Business Insider at the time.