Caplin Systems has scooped third place in The Sunday Times' 2002 TechTrack 100 of fast growth technology companies. Caplin is one of twelve financial technology vendors to feature in this year's top 100 listing.
The sales growth of Caplin Systems, a 306% increase per annum over each of the past three years, propelled the company to a top three spot in this year's survey. Customers including Nasdaq, Dow Jones, JP Morgan Chase and UBS Warburg helped the company's revenues rise from £293,000 in 1999 to £4.8m in 2001.
The Sunday Times ARM Tech Track 100 is compiled by Fast Track, a UK-based research company that tracks Britain's unquoted companies and has compiled league tables used in The Sunday Times newspaper for the past six years.
While editorial coverage in The Sunday Times played heavily upon Paul Caplin's colourful past life (readers of a certain age may remember his role in 1980s pop group Haysi Fantayzee), the success of Caplin Systems maybe deserved a little more attention.
For much of the period under review the trading room sector into which Caplin sells its Real Time Text Protocol, an internet-based realtime data delivery system, has been under a cloud. The world's financial markets have been sliding back from their euphoric peaks, while there has been a general decline in the global economy. Consolidation among banks has led to redundancies and the elimination of thousands of trading positions. In this downbeat market, Caplin's sales pitch - use the Internet for realtime data delivery and save money - has captured the current mood and priorities of IT directors and dealing room managers.
Caplin's small success also brings into sharp relief the challenges facing the major players of the sector: Reuters and Bloomberg. While Caplin's revenues are small change compared to those of the largest information vendors, the success of the company's pitch to the marketplace highlights the extreme pressure being brought to bear upon the margins and revenues of the incumbents in this sector.
Elsewhere in the TechTrack 100, financial technology vendors in both trading and payment systems were well represented. The majority of these organisations are very small, so the huge percentage revenue gains achieved owe more to the startup nature of their businesses, rather than to any change in the pervading economic gloom. However the ranking does perhaps have two other uses. It highlights some of the current hot spots of technology change and investment and, optimistically, it shows that within the financial technology arena entrepreneurial activity continues to bubble away despite the general economic climate.
The representatives from the financial technology sector are listed below - or see www.techtrack100.co.uk for full rankings and details.
Rank - Company - Activity - Sales growth % pa - 2001 Sales(£m)
3 - Caplin Systems - Financial data provider - 306.20% - £4.8m
36 - UPDATA - Share trading software developer - 107.10% - £2.2m
44 - Eiger Systems - Payment software developer - 102.12% - £2.4m
46 - Alphatec Software - Payment software developer - 100.90% - £3.2m
47 - BOOT Computers - Trading software developer - 99.37% - £2.5m
58 - Mosaic Software - Payment software developer - 84.56% - £7.2m
62 - ePulse - Financial software developer - 82.28% - £1.1m
68 - Pulse Software Systems - Financial software developer - 77.76% - £1.0m
69 - Allpay.net - Electronic payment provider - 76.52% - £3.3m
84 - Searchspace - Software developer - 61.02% - £4.3m
98 - Synergy Software Solutions - Financial software developer - 52.45% - £1.3m
99 - Insure-com - Insurance software developer - 52.26% - £1.7m