Kx Systems

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Founded1993; 29 years ago (1993) in Palo Alto, California
Palo Alto, California
United States
Number of locations
14 offices[1] (2018)
Area served
Key people
ParentFD Technologies plc

KX is a data analysis software developer and vendor. It is a business unit of AIM-listed technology and services group FD Technologies (LON: FDP). Its KX Insights platform is built upon the proprietary time-series database kdb+ and its programming language q. Kdb+ is optimized for ingesting, analyzing and storing massive amounts of structured data in real-time and has set multiple records in STAC Research benchmarks.[7] Kdb+ is used in financial modeling and data analysis by Wall Street investment banks,[8] and energy, telecommunications, government, and other industries.[9]

The company was founded in 1993 by Janet Lustgarten and Arthur Whitney.[10] Whitney is the developer of the k language. In 2014, First Derivatives increased their ownership interest to a 65 percent share of the privately held company as it began expanding its databases to retail, pharmaceuticals, and utilities.[9] In 2018, First Derivatives (now FD Technologies plc) announced plans to buy out the remaining shares of KX.[11] KX has offices in New York City, London, England, Ireland, Germany, Australia, Singapore, Tokyo, and Hong Kong.[1][12]


In 1993, Whitney and Lustgarten joined together to commercialize the k programming platform Whitney had created after building the A+ language and other trading systems at Morgan Stanley.[8][13] The purpose of the software was to access and explore large data volumes in financial services computer systems.[14] Initially, Kx Systems had an exclusive contract with Swiss global financial services firm UBS to provide them with the K language. In 1998, the contract with UBS expired and the firm launched the kdb+ database. As part of kdb+, Whitney developed a new language named q that operates with k and uses English keywords.[15]

In 1999, the firm reached a marketing agreement with Northern Ireland based firm, First Derivatives.[16] Kx Systems opened an office in Manhattan in 2002,[17] offices in Germany and Japan in 2003,[18] and an office in Hong Kong in 2009.[19] In 2014, First Derivatives purchased a 65 percent share of Kx Systems, which began a trend in offering Kdb+ to other data-driven industries.[9] Kx Systems has also partnered with the equity trading platform, IEX Group Inc., to conduct real-time market surveillance, which can be used to monitor actions such as insider trading.[20]

To demonstrate this expansion of Kdb+ into verticals outside of finance, Kx has entered into a partnership with Aston Martin Red Bull Racing[21] and has become a technology supplier to NASA's Frontier Development Lab.[22] As of 2019 Kdb+ is available as an on-demand solution via the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Marketplace.[23]

In July 2018, FD Technologies bought all remaining shares in KX Systems that it did not already hold.[24] Co-founders Whitney and Lustgarten then went on to found Shakti.[25][26]

Fusion Interfaces[edit]

As of mid 2018, Kx released a ‘Fusion’ initiative to increase the interface options for kdb+.[27] These include:

  • Python
  • Java
  • R
  • Kafka
  • Jupyter
  • C#

Additional interfaces can be found at: https://code.kx.com/q/interfaces/fusion/


  1. ^ a b "KX: Contact Us". KX. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
  2. ^ Editor, Gary McDonald Business (2020-05-20). "First Derivatives overcomes 'especially traumatic year' to post record revenues". The Irish News. Retrieved 2020-08-12. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  3. ^ "Kc Systems". Craft.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ "Kc Systems". Craft.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ "Kc Systems". Craft.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ Atwood, Alice (December 23, 2015). "Exchange Capacity 'Key Issue'—Kx COO". Futures and Options World. Retrieved January 26, 2016.
  7. ^ "Search | STAC - Insight for the Algorithmic Enterprise | STAC".
  8. ^ a b "A Conversation with Arthur Whitney". 7 (2). Queue Magazine. February 2009: 12–13. Retrieved October 29, 2015. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  9. ^ a b c Groenfeldt, Tom (December 29, 2014). "Kx Systems Takes Finance Expertise to Other Industries". Forbes. Retrieved October 29, 2015.
  10. ^ "Company Overview of Kx Systems, Inc". Bloomberg Business. Retrieved October 29, 2015.
  11. ^ "First Derivatives in £41m share buyout". BBC News. 2 July 2018.
  12. ^ "Kx Systems". CNBC. Retrieved October 29, 2015.
  13. ^ Williams, Jenny (June 1, 2014). "Janet Lustgarten, CEO at KX Systems, On Shampoo Apps, Databases and Founding Her Own Company". Computer Weekly. Retrieved October 29, 2015.
  14. ^ Dempsey, Michael (February 8, 2015). "What Data Can Tell You About Customers". Raconteur. Retrieved October 29, 2015.
  15. ^ Dempster, John. "History of Kdb+/q Database by kx.com". Time Stored. Retrieved October 29, 2015.
  16. ^ "In Brief: Kx Systems Signs European Marketing Deal". American Banker. March 19, 1999. Archived from the original on April 9, 2016. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
  17. ^ "Kx Systems Opens New York Office". Finextra. October 18, 2002. Retrieved October 29, 2015.
  18. ^ Wold, Melanie (February 24, 2003). "Kx Systems Expands to Germany and Japan". Financial News. Archived from the original on April 9, 2016. Retrieved October 29, 2015.
  19. ^ "Kx Systems Opens Asian Office in Hong Kong, Appoints Burke to Head". Intelligent Trading Technology. February 11, 2009. Retrieved October 29, 2015.[permanent dead link]
  20. ^ "IEX Launches Real-Time Market Surveillance". Markets Media. January 2, 2015. Retrieved October 29, 2015.
  21. ^ "First Derivatives signs deal with Red Bull Racing".
  22. ^ "Final frontier: First Derivatives selected for NASA project".
  23. ^ "AWS Partner Solutions Finder".
  24. ^ "FD to buy out minority Kx Systems shareholders". FD Technologies plc. Retrieved 2021-10-22.
  25. ^ "shakti". shakti.com. Retrieved 2021-10-22.
  26. ^ November 2019, Sarah Butcher 27 (2019-11-27). "The new data platform from the reclusive genius of banking IT". eFinancialCareers. Retrieved 2021-10-22.
  27. ^ "Anaconda | Anaconda and Kx Systems Partner to Deliver KDB+ Database…".

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