The PEAK6 logo has a bold typeface with slightly rounded edges. The'A' in the word PEAK is a multi-faceted triangle in deep navy blue tints to create a prism effect.

A History of PEAK6

For over 25 years, PEAK6 has been changing the way the fintech industry does business. Co-founders Jenny Just and Matt Hulsizer have continually pushed forward with innovation and custom solutions to help create a brighter, stronger, and more robust future — for everyone. Here’s the story of how PEAK6 came to be.

The Beginning

Before Jenny and Matt were entrepreneurs, they were options traders for O’Connor and Associates in Chicago. They had several opportunities to learn from pivotal partnerships and industry legends, giving them the tools to build up their business knowledge and savviness. They learned to trust their instincts and to never pass up an opportunity if they had the chance to take it. And, most importantly, they learned that taking calculated risks was vital to business success.

When O’Connor and Associates made the decision to move business to the East Coast, Jenny and Matt had decisions to make. They wanted to stay in Chicago, and even pitched opening a new line of business in Chicago to the executive team. O’Connor and Associates declined the pitch, leading Jenny and Matt to rethink their career paths and how they could create something that worked better for them. “There’s a better way” became the theme of their vision — and still is today.

Jenny Just, co-founder of PEAK6
Jenny Just, co-founder of PEAK6
Matt Hulsizer, co-founder of PEAK6
Matt Hulsizer, co-founder of PEAK6

Forging a New Path

There were many ideas and factors that went into the founding of PEAK6. Starting as a proprietary equity options trading firm, Jenny and Matt built a team and used the money made from trading to fuel other, new ventures through PEAK6. Together, they knew they could accomplish almost anything as long as they put their heads together and saw an opportunity.

Some of those opportunities did not get fully realized, but the chance of calculated risk-taking was always well worth it. Jenny and Matt knew it was important to learn by doing, and the lessons and insights earned from each venture mattered just as much as its success. Those opportunities still had plenty of benefits.

Growth and Embracing Change

As the markets began to change, PEAK6 built OptionsHouse, a hedge fund and retail broker-dealer. This led to many opportunities for the firm, but a critical moment arose when Jenny and Matt received a call from the CEO of Penson Financial Services, the custodian and clearing firm for OptionsHouse.

A still from a video. Two people, Scott DeRue and Jenny Just, sitting in chairs and facing an audience.
Jenny shared her take on the start of PEAK6 during her talk at University of Michigan Ross School of Business. Watch it here.

The clearing firm was nearing bankruptcy, and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) were calling for a sale. Penson needed tens of millions of dollars to cover their business losses within two weeks, and they were asking PEAK6 for assistance. Jenny and Matt knew this was an opportunity they didn’t want to pass up, and for more than one reason — the future of OptionsHouse was in the hands of Penson.

PEAK6 acquired what would become Apex Fintech Solutions from Penson, helping save OptionHouse in the process. The company structure was refreshed, and new account-opening technology was developed to better serve PEAK6 and OptionsHouse customers — putting PEAK6 ahead of most other players that used outdated technology. Soon, brokerage firms looking to disrupt their industries signed on with PEAK6 and its contemporary technology.

Built to Innovate in the Present and Future

PEAK6 had now permanently changed its identity in the business and technology worlds. PEAK6 was the company that enabled disruptors to disrupt their industry — with no plans to stop any time soon. Throughout the years more business ventures and acquisitions have occurred, from cryptocurrency to esports to empowering women through poker to an app offering finance education lessons to offices across the U.S. and Europe.

Ventures and Acquisitions Include:

  • Capital Management, 1997
  • Apex Clearing, 2012
  • Strategic Capital, 2015
  • National Flood Services, 2018
  • Apex Crypto, 2018
  • Evil Geniuses, 2019
  • Belfast Office, 2019
  • Kairos, 2019
  • Hardcastle Trading, 2020
  • Poker Power, 2020
  • Zogo, 2021
  • Silver, 2021
  • Team Focus Insurance, 2021
  • We Insure, 2021
  • CODA Markets, 2021
A neon sign of the PEAK6 logo with a delta replacing the “a” hanging at the entrance of the PEAK6 Chicago headquarters.

Since its inception, PEAK6 has pushed forward to innovate what ought to be into stagnant industries, as Jenny and Matt north star provides the business with the  guidance to never follow the status quo. The firm is now bigger than could have ever been imagined at its inception in 1997, and it continues to grow and expand both externally and internally. Teams are highly collaborative — and competitive, always striving to best themselves while bettering those around them. New technologies and tools, such as artificial intelligence (AI), are always being evaluated to see how PEAK6 can further disrupt the fintech industry  — and build a better world.

This can be seen in PEAK6’s newest department, Applied AI, to innovate ways to automate everyday tasks so teams can free up time and energy to bring new possibilities to life.

Being on the forefront of innovation means we need a passionate and diverse team of problem-solvers and creative thinkers every step of the way. Check out our open positions and internship opportunities to see if there’s a place for you at PEAK6.

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