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I would like to connect to Nasdaq to execute some simple automated strategies. I am NOT a big bank or hedge fund, so paying a high monthly fee is impractical. Is there a way for a small startup or individual to get connectivity to the Nasdaq markets without having to pay a high monthly fee?

Please don't worry about latencies as I understand that the less I pay the more will be the latency. Our strategies will not be latency-sensitive.

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First consider if you really need to be connected to just the Nasdaq or should you be using a broker that can connect you to all exchanges. Almost certainly the answer is the later.

If that is the case then Interactive Brokers is probably the way you want to go. I've setup several CTAs to get started with IB and its probably the best 3rd party to get setup with when you don't have the assets to get a big Sell side firm to look at you.

Once you are huge then you can spend to setup a full hedge fund structure and prime with one of the typical sell side firms:)

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