How Harpal Sandhu dreamed up new technology to transform the wholesale capital markets with Integral

Harpal Sandu, president, founder and CEO, Integral Development Corp.

Harpal Sandu, president, founder and CEO, Integral Development Corp.

NCA Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Financial Services



Harpal Sandhu

President, founder and CEO

Integral Development Corp.


Integral Development Corp. President and CEO Harpal Sandhu always knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur with a focus in technology.

In the 1980s at Stanford as a 17-year-old, he ran the IBM computer fund that totaled more than $100 million, co-authored the textbook on computer fundamentals, and was one of the pioneers who found a way for students to communicate through the university servers.

After he learned the fundamentals of finance and trading, Sandhu started two IPO-successful companies by the time he was 25.

Integral, founded by Sandhu in 1993, came from his dream to democratize the largest market in the world. He led Integral in the development of a global data grid to electronically connect the world’s major financial institutions into the first integrated trading network for foreign exchange and interest-rate derivative products.

It took about 20 years to finally feel the full success of his dream after weathering the dot-com and financial crises.

When Integral started, HTML did not have a rich enough vocabulary to allow computers to communicate with each other as Sandhu envisioned. He created FinXML, the first XML vocabulary for the negotiation and trading of financial products to allow for automated computer-to-computer conversations.

Integral has launched and now operates more than 200 unique FX marketplaces. It also has more than 200 employees and has increased its headcount 40 percent in the past year.

Sandhu has no secretary, and the company has no administrative assistants. He believes there should be direct communication between employees, and therefore all the management and employees sit together in one big open space.

To help other entrepreneurs follow their dreams, Sandhu has been a founding member and leader in a mentorship program for young South Asian CEOs. In closed-door sessions, start-up CEOs share their most difficult challenges in a safe, peer-oriented environment soliciting review and advice.

How to reach: Integral Development Corp.,