A trading startup backed by George Soros and Peter Thiel has undergone a big shake-up

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 a number of changes in its senior ranks, seen a number of departures, and is readying the launch of a new technology platform.

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 co-head 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 additional staff since the start of the year, according to a person people familiar with the firm, most of whom are focused on technology. Headcount is now at around 40 people, the person said.

There have been departures among the firm’s client-focused “producers,” meanwhile: Former Goldman Sachs traders Chris Ruggiero has joined Citigroup, for example. Kelly Maier, another Goldman Sachs alumni, 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.

It
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 over 250 institutions, and has had trade volume of close to $4 billion since launching, with an average trade size of over $2 million.

Peter ThielTristan Fewings/Getty ImagesPeter Thiel also participated in the October fundraising round.

The firm is also close to rolling out a new trading platform. The firm launched using a trading platform created by 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 venture capitalist Peter 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.

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