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April 6, 2022

S3 Partners Announces Addition of Industry Veteran Bill Stephenson

Firm to assume and relaunch AIR Summit

S3 Partners (S3) today announced that Bill Stephenson will join the firm as a Managing Director. Stephenson will lead transaction cost analysis and best execution initiatives at S3, including the Blacklight Financing OMS, which helps trading professionals find the money in their financing relationships, fix their book, and avoid unhappy brokers. S3's best execution integrations and workflows will further optimize alpha generation for asset managers and the end asset owners.

In correlation with Stephenson joining the team, S3 will also assume a majority stake in the AIR Summit (AIR), the premier community focused on innovative technologies in the investment management process.  AIR, which Stephenson founded in 2013, hosts its flagship event in New York City, and has held past events in London and Ft. Lauderdale, FL. 

"S3 has always been an innovative force that brings together technology, data analytics and financial markets, and the addition of Bill and AIR helps further our capabilities for our clients," said Bob Sloan, Managing Partner of S3. "S3 was one of the early presenters at the AIR Summit and an ongoing sponsor of its events and the mission. Our investment in the re-launch of the S3 AIR Summit from its pre-pandemic success will help our customers stay at the forefront of finding new alpha, avoiding risk and fixing costs in their investment processes."

The AIR Summit was founded in 2013 and spun out of Franklin Templeton Investments in 2017, where Stephenson was the Global Head of Trading. Since the inaugural event, 115 emerging fintech companies have presented at AIR, resulting in over $2.7 billion raised in follow-on capital. AIR 6.0 will be held at the New York Stock Exchange in June 2022.

"Over my career, I have focused on finding new ways to generate alpha," said Stephenson. "The AIR Summit was one avenue in that discovery process, and the other was through integration and experimentation with emerging technologies and ideas; some failed, and others were wildly successful. I look forward to my new role at S3, which will allow me to both explore the latest technologies for alpha generation and to build upon S3's market-leading data and technology within the quickly evolving securities finance space."

Before joining S3, Stephenson was the CEO of Plia, where he will continue as Chairman, and spent 20 years at Franklin Templeton Investments. While at Franklin, he ran market data services, the investment quantitative research group, and the global trading operation, which executed equities, foreign exchange, derivatives, and securities lending transactions.

About S3 Partners:
S3 Partners is a leading technology and financial data analytics company that allows Buy and Sell Side market participants to obtain a clear and accurate picture of capital markets trading activity in real-time. S3 Partners provides the highest quality and most timely data for market Financing Rates (bid/ask/last), Short Interest, Float, Open Interest (Long Positions), and Proprietary Indexes (Squeeze, Crowded, Momentum). S3's most used product, BLACK APP, is the market standard for real-time Short Interest and Securities Finance data for more than 65,000 securities on desktops globally. S3's Financing OMS allows trading professionals to aggregate, optimize and score Position, Holdings, Cash, Margin and Swap Positions and enhances outcomes across the total life cycle of any trade—financing, derivatives and cash. S3 is the market standard source for the financial news media such as Bloomberg, WSJ, CNBC and FT. For more information, visit


August 20, 2019

Plato Partnership announced today that it will be extending sponsorship for a further three annual London-based AIR Summit events.

Initially launched in 2014 in the United States, AIR Summit provides a forum for up-and-coming fintech firms to connect and demonstrate their products to investment managers, traders and other market participants. AIR Summit – London 1.0, sponsored by Plato Partnership, was the first AIR Summit event that took place outside of the US.

This sponsorship will enable AIR Summit to run annual events in London as well as New York moving forward. Their next event, AIR Summit 5.0, will be held in New York City on September 18-19.

Unlike other fintech and trade-tech conferences, AIR Summit events focus exclusively on Alphatech – technologies that harness cutting-edge algorithms, machine learning and artificial intelligence to assess, predict and improve an investment portfolio’s success.

In 2020 and beyond, AIR Summit – London will also invite companies that have presented in New York in a bid to encourage a transatlantic discussion around the world of Alpha. To date, 85 companies have presented to the world’s top mutual funds, ETF providers, hedge funds, pension funds and sovereign wealth funds at AIR Summit events in the US and UK.

Since inception, over US$1.7 billion in fresh capital has been invested in companies following participation at an AIR Summit event and a further 13 have been acquired for over $7 billion.

Bill Stephenson, founder of AIR Summit said: “Last year’s AIR Summit – London 1.0 was a fantastic success. The tried and tested format from the US translated well in the UK, and we received excellent feedback from presenting companies and attendees alike.

We are delighted to see the appetite for an event focused on the future of Alpha continue to grow, and we are thrilled at the opportunity to continue providing the forum for these crucial discussions. Next year’s AIR Summit – London 2.0 will build on 2019’s success and provide an even bigger and better platform on which to discuss Alpha.”

Mike Bellaro, CEO of Plato Partnership said: “We believe that discussing and developing technology around alpha is, and will continue to be, essential to the enduring success of the equities marketplace in Europe and beyond. We are proud to be supporting the growth of AIR Summit as it moves from strength to strength.

We started Plato with a clear mission statement: to give something back to the marketplace and improve the market for end investors. Our support for the AIR Summit is a huge step forward in realising this mission.”

Carrie Jaquith, VP and Digital Product Manager at Lazard Frères & Co. said: “AIR London was an incredible  opportunity to speak to leaders in fintech’s Alphatech space. The insights surfaced onstage and in the audience around innovative technology in the investment management process left me inspired and informed.

Bill and Morgan are unique in their ability to curate events focused on this critical area of fintech and offer strategic takeaways across near and long term horizons.”

Henrik Grunditz, Co-Founder & Chief Revenue Officer at Hivemind and presenter at last year’s AIR Summit – London 1.0 said: “AIR Summit is an excellent platform for us at Hivemind to interact with industry leaders. The unique format of compact presentations followed by roundtable demonstrations allow us to not only tell, but also show what we are trying to achieve.”

“Demonstrating how our technology solves complicated data extraction, data enrichment, and data quality problems is always difficult to do in a fast-paced conference environment. AIR Summit offers ample opportunity for demonstration, and crucially ensures that you’re spending that time with the right people – well informed prospects who are eager to know more about your product.”

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Morgan Dunbar, Managing Partner at AIR Summit Holdings, discusses the capital market space within FinTech, an area that is often overlooked amongst the hype you see around consumer FinTech startups and large venture rounds.

Key Points from This Episode:

  • What the term “alpha tech” refers to and how it differentiates them from the rest of FinTech

  • AIR Summit’s focus on capital markets, and specifically front office

  • The growing media coverage on consumer FinTech rather than B2B capital markets

  • How personal investing and the capital market are related

  • The positive response from the industry to capital market startups

  • Why companies are occupied with big data and how AI is being used to solve problems

  • The competition for talent and why it is important to create the right culture

  • Time as one of the biggest challenges for emerging technology companies

  • General problems that the buy and sell side of the industry experience

AIR Summit Forms New Advisory Board


April 1, 2019 - AIR Summit Holdings, LLC is pleased to announce the AIR Summit Advisory Board for 2019.  The Advisory Board will be instrumental in determining the presenting companies at AIR Summit 5.0, which will be held in New York City this September 18th and 19th.   The Advisory Board is comprised of distinguished leaders in financial technology and capital markets and will work closely with AIR Summit leadership in order to showcase the most innovative companies and ideas in AlphaTech™. 


The first six Advisory Board members include:


  • Carrie Jaquith – Vice President, Digital Product Manager at Lazard Frères; Teaching Associate, Master of Science in Applied Analytics at Columbia University; Regularly featured speaker, panelist and moderator

  • Ashby Monk – Research Director at Stanford University’s Global Projects Center; Co-founder and Chairman of Long Game; Senior Advisor for the Long-Term Stock Exchange

  • Cathie Wood – Founder and CEO at ARK Investment Management, LLC; Member of The Bloomberg 50 list; former CIO at AllianceBernstein

  • Jordan Vinarub – Head of NYC Tech Development Center at T. Rowe Price; former software development manager at Bridgewater; former Head of Development at REDI Technologies

  • Clare Flynn Levy – Founder and CEO of Essentia Analytics, Behavioral finance and flexible working evangelist; former portfolio manager

  • Mat Gulley – Executive Vice President, Franklin Templeton Investments, Alternative Strategies; former Co-head FT Fintech Opportunities Committee and Head of Investment Management Strategic Services overseeing Investment Management Data Science, Global Investment Risk and Global Trading


“I have been a long-time supporter of the AIR Summit and believe it to be one of the best communities of Fintech influencers where I can learn and collaborate alongside my peers,” said Advisory Board member Mat Gulley. Gulley added, “The rate of change in our industry is becoming ever harder to manage and innovation is no longer a nice-to-have, but a must-have in order to be a successful investment manager.”


“The AIR Summit was built by the buyside for the buyside and presents cutting-edge technology that helps investment managers make better or faster decisions in their investment processes,” said Morgan Dunbar, Managing Partner at AIR Summit Holdings, LLC.  Dunbar added, “we review hundreds of companies each year and appreciate the expertise our Advisory Board brings to our membership.  Their insight helps us ensure the presenting innovations are fresh and relevant to the biggest challenges faced by investment managers today.”


About AIR Summit


AIR Summit is the premier community focused on leading innovative technology in the investment management process.  Membership in the community includes global investment management, emerging technology and major financial services companies. AIR Summit produces events and related content that engage thought leaders from this community to provide actionable insights and spur innovation that support the creation of alpha in the investment management process.  The community was first organized in 2014 and has been the launching pad for more than 75 emerging technology and data companies.  AIR Summit 4.0 was held in New York City in September 2018 with participating investment management firms representing $32 trillion in assets under management.  Future events in 2019 will be held in London and in New York City.


For more information, please visit

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February 25, 2019


AIR Summit and Plato Partnership Announce London Investor Fintech Event:

AIR Summit – London 1.0


AIR Summit – London 1.0 powered by the Plato Partnership, is a one-day event on 2nd May that will exhibit cutting-edge technologies which help investment managers generate or maintain alpha performance in their portfolios. For the last five years, the AIR Summit has provided up and coming investment technology companies with a forum to present their innovations to leading figures in the investment management industry. The AIR Summit will bring that forum to London for the first time.

To date, 80 companies have presented to the world’s top mutual funds, ETF providers, hedge funds, pension funds and sovereign wealth funds at AIR Summit. Following the successful AIR Summit 4.0, which was held in New York City last September, this will be the first AIR Summit event outside the United States. 

AIR Summit founder, Bill Stephenson, is working to broaden the membership to include global thought-leaders from across the investment management decision-making process. Stephenson comments:

“As we witnessed after the tumultuous fourth quarter of 2018, active investment managers can outperform in times of volatility. However, the best long-term investment processes of the future will involve not just intuitive feel and risk management, but a higher level of augmented intelligence enabled by technology.

The AIR Summit is the only membership event that is focused exclusively on front-office investment management innovation – what we call AlphaTech™ - and the opportunity for members to tap into this community is what we believe will differentiate the leaders of the future from the laggards.”

Over $1.5 billion of fresh capital has been invested across companies following their participation at the AIR Summit. Morgan Dunbar, Managing Partner at AIR Summit, says:

“There are hundreds of emerging companies deploying innovative technology looking to add value to the investment process - our system helps us identify companies that offer particularly valuable products.  We are also seeing significant strategic interest from investment managers to invest in promising AlphaTech™ companies to boost their competitive advantage. AIR facilitates connectivity across all nodes of this valuable network.” 

The AIR Summit has built the event and the community on a collaborative, non-commercial, invitation-only approach, focusing on bringing top thought leadership and insight to the investment management community. This approach has attracted senior-level decision makers to the event.

Mike Bellaro, CEO of the Plato Partnership, has been a long-term observer of the AIR Summit, believing that digital innovation across the trading and market structure landscape is crucial in the ever-changing world of asset management.   


Bellaro says:

“We are excited to bring the AIR Summit to London in order to showcase both local and global innovation across the investment management ecosystem.  The Plato membership is very keen to understand and integrate new ideas, so leveraging the work and insights from the AIR Summit will be a great step forward.”

For further information on becoming a member of the AIR Summit or to attend AIR Summit – London 1.0 in collaboration with the Plato Partnership, visit



Cicero Group (on behalf of Plato Partnership)


Jack Benda

+44 (0) 20 7343 1600

+44 (0) 7825 221 746


Notes to Editors

About AIR Summit


AIR Summit is the premier community focused on leading innovative technology in the investment management process.  Membership in the community include global investment management, emerging technology and major financial services companies. AIR Summit produces events that engage thought leaders from this community to provide actionable insights that spur innovation and new ideas that support the creation or preservation of alpha in the investment management process.  The community was first organized in 2014 and has been the launching pad for 75+ emerging technology and data companies.

For more information, please visit


About Plato Partnership Limited


Plato Partnership Limited (“Plato Partnership”), a not-for-profit company representing the buy and sell-side, has come together with a vision of bringing creative solutions and efficiencies to today’s equity marketplace. The group’s key aims are to reduce trading costs, simplify market structure, and to act as a champion for end investors.

Central to this vision is Plato Partnership’s Market Innovator (MI3); a research fund which will sponsor academic research and analysis that will identify ever better ways of executing trades, as well as lowering the cost and improving the quality of the broad range of processes required to support the execution lifecycle.

Plato Partnership will work with industry partners to achieve its goals and objectives and put its research findings into practice.

Members of Plato Partnership include Axa Investment Managers, Baillie Gifford, BlackRock, DWS Group, Fidelity International, Norges Bank Investment Management, Union Investment, Barclays, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citi, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Invesco, JP Morgan,  Morgan Stanley, UBS, Jefferies, Societe Generale, Liontrust, RBC, Instinet, Redburn, Legal & General Investment Management and Janus Henderson.

For more information, please visit or @PlatoMarkets.

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