With AWS, clients can start from a very small footprint and scale flexibly and quickly,
which helps us build our client base.
Florian Matthaeus Spiegl Cofounder and COO, FinFabrik
  • About FinFabrik

    FinFabrik is a Hong Kong–based fintech company that creates software-as-a-service applications to facilitate trading multiple assets such as equities and cryptoassets. Its mission is to empower capital markets businesses and individuals to access more investment opportunity.

  • Benefits of AWS

    • Agility to deploy new systems in 10 minutes
    • Scalability to accommodate 500 to 50,000 users
    • Security to ensure data segregation and privacy
    • Meets latency target of 30 milliseconds
    • Platform is easy to learn and use

  • AWS Services Used

In these digitally disruptive times, financial institutions have been among the last to experiment with digital-first initiatives. The emergence of fintech startups such as FinFabrik, however, has encouraged some of the world’s largest banks and brokerage houses to rethink how they manage money and interact with customers.

The founders of Hong Kong–based FinFabrik have been named among the top fintech influencers in the Asia-Pacific region, and their mission is to make investment available to anyone. “We firmly believe we can achieve that with better technology and user experiences,” says Dr. Florian Matthaeus Spiegl, cofounder and COO of FinFabrik. Especially in Southeast Asia, he explains, penetration of wealth management and trading services is still fairly low, as traditional institutions running outdated technology simply cannot afford to serve people without much capital to invest. As a B2B software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider, the 20-person startup has two categories of clients: institutions such as banks, brokerages, and wealth management firms looking to upgrade their technology, and companies dealing with newer asset classes such as cryptocurrency.

When FinFabrik started building its platform two years ago, banks were still reluctant to consider cloud computing due to data security concerns. “We’ve seen that change dramatically,” Spiegl says. “Companies pursuing an innovation agenda now recognize that cloud solutions are capable and cost-effective from day one. This differentiates us from more traditional SaaS vendors in the industry who are not cloud-first.”

Alex Medana, cofounder and CEO of FinFabrik, states, “We have aimed to be global from the get-go. By adopting cloud computing, we do not limit ourselves to serving only Hong Kong clients, but any clients, with the cloud’s high agility, scalability, and low infrastructure costs.” From its inception, FinFabrik chose AWS over other public cloud providers because of its positive reputation in the market, built-in security features, and ease of use. “Working with AWS makes it easier to convince clients to convert to cloud-native applications, because the AWS brand name gives them peace of mind,” says Spiegl.

Jason Fuller, cloud architect at FinFabrik, had experience with AWS and another major cloud provider in previous companies. “With AWS, security was a lot stronger,” he says. “Anyone in the market today would likely agree that the complexity of some cloud competitors is astounding, but with AWS the same workloads can be managed in a much simpler way.”

Clients can opt to run FinFabrik modules in a multi-tenant environment or in their own VPC by taking advantage of Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC). Data privacy is paramount for the industry, and FinFabrik values the ability within Amazon VPC to have segregated subnets, multiple layers of security, and backups in place should a mistake occur. It uses Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS) to run serverless computing and Amazon Simple Email Service (Amazon SES) for digital marketing. The team relies on built-in AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) for account authentication and Amazon CloudWatch for detailed monitoring.

With the AWS Cloud, FinFabrik has the agility needed to quickly adapt to an endlessly shifting technology landscape. Its multi-asset trading platform has gone through countless iterations since launching two years ago. “We are constantly rebuilding and reinventing the platform to bring in new technology as it evolves. We’re also extending the platform to add more modules for asset classes and support services. In our environment, speed, latency, and efficiency are very important,” Spiegl says. “AWS makes it easy to react quickly to changes. When we run Amazon ECS workloads, we can have a new system up and running within 10 minutes.”

The fintech currently operates out of data centers in two AWS availability zones in Singapore, and its need for speed is fulfilled by meeting its latency target of 30 milliseconds. With an eye on expansion, the company will start considering which future locations are the best fit for maintaining its latency target. “Because AWS is a global provider,” Fuller says, “we’re able to match our data centers and better serve clients in other parts of the world.”

For Fuller’s DevOps team of seven, it’s all about simplicity. “The simplicity of working with AWS allows us to ensure we are doing things comprehensively, whereas we might miss something in a more complex system like those of the other cloud players,” he says. The company subscribes to AWS Business Support, which has been a critical part of the development process. “The support organization is top-notch,” Fuller adds. “The ability to learn from AWS engineers has been key, so anytime there’s a problem, we can get on the phone and they solve it while we learn.”

Scalability was a system priority from day one to ensure FinFabrik can offer its modules to investors of any size. A typical institutional client will have 30,000 to 50,000 monthly active users on its platform, but there are also companies with 500 or fewer users. The ability to quickly deploy new systems appeals to new clients, so they can get started right away. “With AWS, clients can start from a very small footprint and scale flexibly and quickly, which helps us build our client base,” Spiegl explains.

FinFabrik and AWS have been strengthening their relationship this year, discussing collaboration on go-to-market opportunities and potential new clients for the fintech. Connie Ma, marketing lead at FinFabrik, says, “I appreciate the AWS culture of customer obsession, which I feel daily in our contact with our account rep, and which matches our approach to clients. At the end of the day, it’s about the user experience and I see that AWS has the same vision.”

Spiegl agrees. “AWS has been with us since we were just three guys and a whiteboard. Getting support from such a large provider that believes in you is very important, and we’ve been growing with AWS ever since.”

To learn more, visit https://aws.amazon.com/devops/.