TradeKing: Using APIs to Deliver Next-Generation Trading Experiences
Launched in 2005, TradeKing is an online brokerage dedicated to empowering the self-directed investor. The company’s platform features a powerful set of tools for equity, options, exchange-traded fund (ETF), mutual fund, and fixed-income trading.
Challenges and Opportunities
TradeKing just keeps growing. Nearly a decade after its founding, the company remains one of the top-ranked online brokerages in the United States, offering an extremely transparent pricing structure for managing users’ assets. In recent years, however, the TradeKing team has noticed a rising demand for truly innovative, next-generation interfaces across a broad range of devices.
“Online retail brokerages are seeing more traffic moving away from web platforms and toward mobile platforms,” says an IT executive at TradeKing. “Very soon, we’ll have a new breed of traders who will be completely dependent on mobile apps— and that moment is coming faster than you might think.”
TradeKing was one of the first brokerage firms to offer a simple REST-based API. That API is now a critical part of the company’s infrastructure, promoting innovation across every channel—from internal teams to the broader development community. TradeKing engages with developers by conducting incentivized virtual hackathons and other crowdsourcing initiatives, including an extremely successful “API campus challenge” program that encourages undergraduates to create platforms for a chance to win career-boosting recognition from fellow developers.
At first, TradeKing attempted to create its entire API in-house. But after some trial and error, the company decided to rely on Apigee instead, customizing the technology as necessary to meet the company’s unique requirements.
“We’re in the financial sector, so security is hugely important,” says a TradeKing executive. “The Apigee team worked with us to build an API that is not only simple and usable, but also very secure.”
The TradeKing API opens up endless possibilities for traders to define their own experiences. The company recently has even introduced an app gallery to showcase all of the applications created by a growing number of partners and third-party developers—giving users a clear idea of the many choices available to them on the TradeKing platform.
Going forward, the company’s API will help drive revenue while continuing to set TradeKing apart from a crowded field of upstarts.
“If we want to remain competitive, we need to be responsive to users’ evolving preferences,” a TradeKing executive says. “That’s why we make an API available to the public. Our community of developers is able to deliver more innovation than we could ever accomplish by ourselves.”
Apigee stands out as a TradeKing partner, the executive adds, because of its responsiveness, its understanding of the company’s needs, and the way it developed and maintains the relationship.