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Option Alpha Founder And CEO On 'Giving People The Tools To Automate Their Trading'

·4 min read

Benzinga, a media and data provider bridging the gap between retail and institutional investors, will be bringing back its annual Global Fintech Awards event to New York City on Dec. 8, 2022.

Ahead of this recognition of disruptive innovators in finance and technology, Benzinga will periodically publish articles on those brands that it thinks are making a measurable impact.

Today’s conversation is with Kirk Du Plessis, founder, and CEO of Option Alpha, a web-based platform to ideate, research, test, and automate trading strategies.

The following text was edited for clarity and concision.

Benzinga: Hey Kirk, nice to speak with you, again. Tell me what you’ve been working on.

Kirk Du Plessis: I’ve been focused on building the newest version of our platform which we just released, publicly. It’s been a long road building what essentially is a platform to automate your trading.

Tell us a little bit about the structure of the platform?

I like to think about trading by breaking it down into its basic elements. There’s everything you do before entering a trade and then, there’s everything you do to execute a trade.

Inside of Option Alpha, through our bots and automation, you can build and scan, as well as trade on criteria you’re in control of. The easiest path is hybrid trading. When it comes down to it, traders can’t conceivably scan hundreds of tickers as markets are moving.

Keep going – tell us more!

As traders, we cancel and replace orders all the time because of failure to fill. We’ve developed Smart Pricing technology that sends limit orders across the bid-ask spread.

After you scan and find the perfect trade, our Smart Pricing will continue notching your order down by a penny or two until it fills or stops where you tell it to stop.

Graphic: Option Alpha’s smart pricing.

So, Option Alpha helps you with everything up to and including execution. What about management?

After you get into a trade, we have automation that helps you monitor positions. You’re evaluating all of this in what we call a decision tree inside of your bots.

You can monitor whether the market moved down 2%, how that impacts your positions, whether the position is profitable, the time to expiry, and beyond. There’s no limit.

You can tell the bot when to execute and, if you get challenged, you can automatically roll.

If I’m not savvy with technology, can I use this platform?

Yes. We, alongside our community, provide templates for users to learn, build, and execute.

For instance, we have one member who recently shared an SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) Iron Butterfly bot. They wrote up this long description about where it came from and they shared the entire bot template with like 15 or 16 different automations.

Every time a new version is released, they put out an update. And so, people can come in and they can clone that template and, within that template, they can change and test variables like the tickers the bot trades.

We’ve collapsed the learning curve for an investor to near-zero.

Graphic: Templates created by Option Alpha’s community.

There are backtesting tools too, right?

Yes, and every time someone runs a backtest, that data is uploaded to our database and is available to others for filtering and ranking on strategy performance across parameters like particular time frames and symbols.

The next version that we’re working on, which should roll out, will convert backtests to bots in one click. Now, users can go back and make modifications.

Traders should get back to doing only what humans can do best, which is evaluating strategies and determining capital sizing and positions, rather than wasting time on execution.

So is this a subscription product? If so, what brokerage integrations do you offer, also.

Yes. Our model for generating revenue and helping pay for development is purely subscription-based.

We have agreements with Charles Schwab Corporation-owned (NYSE: SCHW) TD Ameritrade, Tradier, TradeStation, and some others, soon.

Any last remarks before we close?

Our goal is to build the platform and add tools to forecast ranges on securities and structure trades based on those forecasts, as well as journal and better analyze trades across different environments and criteria.

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