By age 29, Omar Amanat had experienced more than most people do in a lifetime. He survived the World Trade Center crash and the dot-com crash and went on to sell his company, Tradescape, for $280 million, making him E*Trade’s largest shareholder. He honed his business chops at the University of Pennsylvania and the Wharton School of Business and has since established himself as a pioneer and innovator in numerous fields:
Named one of Wall Street’s “Top Ten Most Influential Technologists” by Fortune Magazine, Mr. Amanat was responsible for several important developments in the electronic brokerage industry. In 1999, his company, Tradescape, was the first to provide investors with direct connectivity to all nine Electronic Communications Networks or alternative stock exchanges, including Archipelago, which was later acquired by the New York Stock Exchange. Before founding Tradescape, Mr. Amanat also worked with CyberTrader founder Philip Berber developing a prototype of the trading platform that would be acquired by Charles Schwab in 2000 for $488 million. Mr. Amanat began his entrepreneurial career at Datek Online, which was sold for $1.3 billion to Ameritrade.
As founder, CEO, and majority shareholder, Mr. Amanat built the direct-access brokerage and technology firm Tradescape Corporation into an industry leader that processed over 10% of NASDAQ’s daily trading volume. In 2001, Tradescape was named one of the top 50 private companies in the U.S. by Red Herring Magazine. In 2002, Mr. Amanat sold Tradescape to the financial services company E*Trade for consideration worth $280 million.
Mr. Amanat has engaged in extensive philanthropic activities as both a businessman and public speaker. He is a member of the Global Philanthropists Circle and has served as Vice Chairman of the Board of the Acumen Fund, a global venture capital fund for the poor that was described by Barron’s as one of the five charities changing the face of global philanthropy. Mr. Amanat is on the Board of Directors of Human Rights Watch and Malaria No More and is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is also a board member of the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City.
Film and television financier
Since the events of 9/11, Omar Amanat has used his financial and philanthropic expertise to explore the ways in which film and television can create social change and global understanding. He was the initial financier for Bridges TV, the first American TV station dedicated to building bridges between the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds. Mr. Amanat is founder or financier for several film production and distribution companies, including one that recently raised $205 million to finance 20 to 30 feature films over the next 5 years. He is also part of a majority partnership and a board member of a new $1 billion Hollywood production and distribution studio.