The Hot Action in Financial Tech

OptionsXpress and a slew of other small outfits are springing up around Chicago's exchanges

When optionsXpress (OXPS), an online brokerage firm, was launched in late 2000, the timing was atrocious. The tech-centric Nasdaq market was tanking, and early-stage funders of dot-com startups were running scared. The company's founders, three Chicago options traders, were roundly rebuffed by venture capitalists, forcing them to raise their first $3 million on their own, from friends, family, and other traders.

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