A groundbreaking Wall Street trading startup is trying to pull back from the brink of closure

US TreasuryWikipediaUnited States Department of the Treasury in Washington, D.C.

Direct Match, a Wall Street trading startup focused on the US Treasurys market, is exploring strategic options that could include a sale.

The firm, which touted itself as the first all-to-all US Treasury trading platform, was launched by Jim Greco and Kristi Neller in late 2014.

It raised around $9 million across two different fundraising rounds in 2015 and early 2016, and hired William O’Brien, the former CEO of Direct Edge, as executive chairman earlier this year.

The firm had planned to offer exchange-style trading for US Treasury bonds, and had more than 50 clients commit to the platform.

However, a planned clearing partnership with State Street Global Markets fell through at the last minute, leaving the firm unable to get off the ground.

“As a prudent measure, the team has started to explore other strategic options that would either fortify the firm’s capital or align it more closely with strategic partners that would enable us to realise our vision,” Greco told Business Insider.

The closure of Direct Match highlights the difficulty startups have had getting off the ground in institutional finance.

Kevin McPartland, who leads Greenwich Associate’s market structure and technology research, said recently that many Wall Street startups were failing for the sake of progress.

He said:

The sad fact is most of them will fail, or best case be acquired for a fraction of their original valuation. Trading desks don’t like change, and building liquidity from a standing start has to be one of the hardest things to do in institutional FinTech.

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