Looking to become the “OS” for financial services OpenFin raises $15 million

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Some of the biggest financial services firms in the world are coming together to back a small New York-based technology company called OpenFin with aspirations to become the “operating system” for financial services applications.

The company has just closed a new $15 million round from investors led by the banking giant J.P. Morgan, the venture firm Bain Capital Ventures, and NEX Euclid Opportunities — the investment fund affiliated with the publicly traded electronic trading platform, NEX Group plc.

Additional investors in the round included DRW Venture Capital, Nyca Partners, Pivot Investment partners, and select angel investors and financial industry execs.

The company now bills itself as an Android for capital markets, although “Docker” for capital markets may be better? Without getting too in-the-weeds (although maybe I already have), OpenFin was developed on top of Google’s Chromium project — an open source project (anyone can see the code) that’s the same code Google uses for its Chrome browser.

OpenFin has forked that project to develop its own layer for developing and distributing applications. The company bills itself as a way for companies developing applications for financial services and capital markets to operate effectively across the different programming environments in each big bank, marketplace, hedge fund, or money mover.

The company’s software is already used by 35 of the biggest banks, hedge funds, and trading platforms and is installed on over 100,000 desktops.

OpenFin bills itself as a more secure, fully integrated way for anyone using trading or communication tools to work in the financial services sector.

“There’re three main things that [OpenFin’s service] does,” says OpenFin chief executive Mazy Dar, a former executive with the Intercontinental Exchange. “It’s the conduit that gets the app onto the [system], it provides security, and is the unifying layer to allow apps to talk to each other.”

Since applications that run on top of OpenFin never access the underlying network within a financial services institution, Dar argues that deployments on top of OpenFin are far more secure for their users. And in the notoriously security-focused financial services sector, that’s a good thing.

Currently, it can take anywhere from 6 to 18 months to deliver an application or an update to a desktop inside a financial services firm, according to OpenFin. The applications not only have to be vetted by security, but they also have to be integrated or customized to the back-end of each company (and each company has a different, proprietary, back-end).

OpenFin pitches itself as a service that can allow different fin-tech focused apps to communicate effectively without accessing core networks or existing in silos.

Even better for banks, there’s no charge. The company makes its money on per-seat fees charged to the companies that make and distribute the applications that run on its service.

This business model is both a blessing and a curse. OpenFin works insofar as there are applications that want to run on OpenFin’s platform. So far the company has 50 apps that are distributed through its service from customers including J.P. Morgan, Citadel, Electronifie, REDI, Trumid, Greenkey, ICAP, OpenDoor, embonds, and Tullett Prebon.

What’s appealing about OpenFin isn’t just the company itself (which, because I’m a nerd, I think is pretty fascinating), but also the ability to extend the company’s thesis into other industries.

Taking the specialized OS approach means that other security-conscious industries (oil and gas, utilities, heavy industry) could create a buffer between applications and their underlying architectures and (correct me if I’m wrong, y’all) create a stronger defense against cyber threats.

Just throwing that out there.

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Detective Benson and Stabler reunited for Valentine’s Day and our hearts are full of love

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These are the stories of a beautiful friendship.

Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay, aka Detective Stabler and Benson, fought crime together on the hit show Law & Order: SVU for more than decade. Frequently blessing us with unexpected holiday selfies, their friendship has become the crown jewel of the internet.

So, in keeping with that tradition, the pair warmed our hearts when they reunited for Valentine’s Day. Hargitay’s caption shows how much love the TV partners still have for one another.

And then that happened… Just when I thought Valentine’s Day was over.

A post shared by Mariska Hargitay (@therealmariskahargitay) on Read more…

More about Chris Meloni, Mariska Hargitay, Law Order Svu, Watercooler, and Watercooler

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Think More Rationally by Pretending You’re Giving Advice to Someone Else

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When you’re faced with making a decision that involves yourself, it’s difficult to be rational because you’re trapped in your own world and biases. One way to get past these is to ask yourself, “If this was about someone else that I love and care about, what would I tell them?”

In the video, Dan Ariely, a psychologist and author of Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, says that when you deal with someone else’s problems, you are removed from their emotions and can offer real, straightforward advice. So take that idea and use it on yourself. When you imagine you’re an outsider, your advice to yourself could end up being different from your first gut reactions.

A Simple Mind Trick Will Help You Think More Rationally | Big Think

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Giphy made 2,000 GIFs to help you learn sign language

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A GIF can be more than a well-timed punchline for a tweet or group chat. Now, the looping clips can be used to teach people new languages. As Mashable reports, GIF provider Giphy has launched a new "channel" containing more than 2,000 educational sign language clips. They’re all dead simple: just the hand movements and a text caption explaining what they mean. These bite-sized flash cards have been pulled from Sign With Robert, an instructional series for American Sign Language (different versions are used throughout the world). The hope is that people will pick up a word or two by sharing them at convenient moments online.

"The GIF format has the ability to loop infinitely, so it’s perfect for learning new signs," Hilari Scarl, director and producer for Sign With Robert said. "It doesn’t require the back and forth of hitting play, rewind or repeat."

It’s unlikely that you’ll learn sign language through GIFs alone. But it’s a clever way of promoting a truly life-changing skill, and could encourage more people to study the language in greater depth. For many, Giphy is the go-to GIF repository, so there’s a good chance these loops will surface as people conduct their usual searches. Sign language GIFs have been done before, but now they’re more likely to have a real impact on the web.

Via: Mashable

Source: Giphy (Sign With Robert)

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This powerful goo promises to make your iPhone screen indestructible

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Phone displays are super fragile. And the only way to protect your phone’s display is to apply an ugly screen protector on top of it.

But what if you could protect your phone display and make it more scratch-resistant and water-repellent with some seemingly magical goo? 

Enter the ProtectPax, an invisible “liquid glass” screen protector that claims it can strengthen any glass.

Currently crowdfunding on Indiegogo, the ProtectPax goo is made of “titanium dioxide nanoparticles, which close the microscopic wells on the glass” and can make your display as “hard as sapphire or ruby.”

The company behind it, which goes by the same name, says the liquid-glass nanotechnology was originally developed for use in the aerospace and aviation industries.

But does it really work? We haven’t tried it ourselves, but here’s an iPhone with half of its screen covered with a regular screen protector and half of it treated with the ProtectPax goo, called “LiquidNano” in the video. Look at how it buffs off the dremel like it’s NBD:

Treating your phone’s screen seems almost too easy to be true: Just slather the goo all over the glass screen, wait 10 minutes for it to dry, and — voila — you’ve got a supposedly ultra-tough screen.

The downside? The liquid glass coating is only good for a year before it wears off. My question is, because it’s invisible, how the heck do you know if you covered every part of the screen? Also, what are the chances the goo will damage your phone if it seeps into the earpiece of a non water-resistant phone?

Packs of ProtectPax start at $39 for those brave enough to test it out.

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This blooming solar system harvests energy from the sun like a flower

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This blooming solar system harvests energy from the sun like a flower

Smartflower‘ claims to be the world’s first “intelligent energy plant.” It’s a solar system that unfolds its giant solar panel petals in the morning and follows the sun throughout the day. It closes up at night or during heavy weather conditions. 

Its mobility makes it more efficient than traditional roof solar panel systems, while its design makes it aesthetically appealing and discrete. 

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WWE Legend George ‘The Animal’ Steele Has Passed Away At 79

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WWE Legend George ‘The Aninal’ Steele has died at the ae of 79 due to kidney failure according to a report from TMZ.

WWE Hall of Famer George “The Animal” Steele died Thursday night in Florida from kidney failure … George’s wife, Patricia, tells TMZ Sports.
Patricia tells us George had been in and out of hospice care since April.
George had some legendary bouts with Randy Savage back in the day — and other wrestling greats are reacting to the sad news. Hulk Hogan said, “My brother, only love, only grateful.”

RIP.

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