A Conversation with Steve Swanson


Pursuing a startup company can be a rewarding experience. However, it is not without its share of challenges and may not be for everyone. In the CDCu Entrepreneur Series, aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners will benefit from a candid conversation with some of Charleston's most successful entrepreneurs about the big idea behind starting their respective companies, their journey from startup to exit and the many challenges along the way to success.


  • The big idea – what was the inspiration behind the formation of Automated Trading Desk (ATD)
  • The journey from startup to exit – challenging aspects with building a successful company - raising capital, infrastructure, hiring, creating a company culture, partnerships, etc.
  • Identifying important elements every founder/entrepreneur should consider before pursuing a startup
  • Looking ahead, what the Charleston community can do to support entrepreneurs and accelerate success

About your presenter

Steve Swanson co-founded Automated Trading Desk (ATD), a pioneer in high frequency trading, in 1989. After twelve years of growing the company, Swanson was named President and CEO where he was responsible for increasing ATD's market share to 7% of US daily equity trading volume.

In 2007, ATD was sold to Citigroup for $680 million, where Swanson was global co-head of electronic trading for equities. Since leaving Citi/ATD in 2010, he has managed, mentored, and invested in several startup organizations. Swanson was named one of "The Top 10 Innovators of the Decade" by Wall Street Technology for the market changes ATD influenced. Connect with Steve on LinkedIn.