Alternative Data Weekly Newsletter Archives


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A curated digest of must-read news from around the internet about alternative data. Join the buy-side professionals already reading the Alternative Data Weekly.

January 2017

The future belongs to the quantamental


From the COO of Qineqt, a thoughtful piece that argues quantamental is the only way forward in an era where we are “drowning in information but starved for knowledge.” Read More

Two Sigma buys space in Cornell Tech building

The Cornell Daily Sun

In support of “gain[ing] value from the world’s data,” Two Sigma will operate its Collision Lab in Cornell’s Bridge building, set to open in September. With the move, the hedge fund hopes to surround itself with bright students and big ideas. Read More

Six areas of AI and machine learning to watch closely


Brush up on your AI with this efficient primer outlining six key themes noteworthy for their ability to impact digital products and services. Read More

GCM Grosvenor invests in alt data start-up Prattle

Business Insider

Prattle, an alternative data start-up that offers quantitative data on central bank communications, raised a $3.3 million seed round of financing led by GCM Grosvenor. Read More

China goes from fake GDP data to no data amid worries about housing market

Financial Review

Two publishers of Chinese real estate data confirmed they will no longer publish monthly home prices, insinuating that the discrepancy with government reports is not acceptable. Read More

Glassdoor provides free access to data for investors

Financial Times

Fund managers are using the company review board to perform due diligence, but they must beware of bias and opportunities for abuse. Read More

Artificial intelligence hedge funds outperforming humans


According to Eurekahedge, AI-driven funds have returned 8.44% over the past six years, versus 2.62% for the CTA/Managed Futures index and 1.62% for the trend following index. Read More

Conference alert: AI and data science for capital markets


Newsweek and IBT are hosting this event in London, March 1-2. Prominent alternative data providers, academics and technologists will be in attendance. Read More

The new gold rush? Wall Street wants your data


Nothing innovative around data happens in New York City without venture capitalist Matt Turck being aware. Now the FirstMark Capital managing director has written what will surely become required reading for any company considering selling their data to Wall Street. Read More

Quantimental’s potential

Bloomberg Markets

“I promise you a Rolls Royce and I give you a Honda”. In 2016, clients pulled $106 billion from hedge funds, frustrated with disappointing performances and high fees. Point72’s Matthew Granade suggests that the opportunity for rebirth lies in quantimental investing. Read More

26 years of backtesting shows compelling evidence for news volume


A simple and elegant hypothesis: “the more that is written on a subject at a time, the more important the subject could be.” And what do you know, Norway’s central bank may have found itself a new trading strategy. Big data from news reports is showing itself to be a better predictor of economic trends than stocks or bonds. Read More

Leveraging unstructured data for improved investment strategies


Former Susquehanna employee Mutisya Ndunda started LogiBot to automate the mundane work of financial analysts. Based in New York, LogitBot processes massive amounts of data from a wide range of sources. What sets them apart is their leverage of entity recognition APIs, making it possible to transform the data into natural-language information right on a spreadsheet. Read More

CBOE launches second social media benchmark index


Further evidence of social media sentiment diffusion. Back in August, the Chicago Board Options Exchange launched the CBOE-SMA Large Cap Index — its first index based on social media sentiment — and now they’re launching their second. Enter the CBOE-SMA Large-Cap Weekly Index. Read More

New dataset on China auto industry


Eagle Alpha has launched a new dataset designed to provide buy-side hedge fund managers with insights into the Chinese automotive sector. China Auto Insight offers analyses of consumer purchasing behavior, volume, inventory, final transaction prices and other data that has been unavailable until now. Read More

If Trump tweets, then trade


Dubbed by some as the Internet’s best productivity tool, IFTTT (aka If This, Then That) lets non-coders create if statements based on Internet events. The hottest IFTTT at the moment seems to be Trump tweets about companies, which are setting off a firestorm of trading algorithms. Read More

A building year for ‘alt’ data

Markets Media

In the data arms race, smaller shops are winning. While the largest asset managers have boardroom meetings on alternative data, small firms continue to pour millions into data acquisition and data processing technology. A slightly more sober take on alternative data. Read More

The delusions of number crunchers


A beautiful piece by renowned NYU finance professor Aswath Damodaran. With humor and humility, Damodaran outlines the traps created by big datasets and describes three data-related delusions to which even he is susceptible. Read More

Split-second data mapping

MIT News

MapD can visualize a billion rows of data faster than you can say “visualize my data”. Seriously. MapD’s tech, incubated at MIT, runs on graphics processing units (GPUs) instead of the common CPU. By doing so, MapD runs 100 times faster than traditional database systems. That kind of speed gives you a distinct edge. Read More

FarmLogs raises $22 million


FarmLogs has raised $22 million in Series C funding. Like Granular and Farmers Edge, this Y Combinator alumnus uses data science and IoT to offer insights into crop and field health to farmers. While privacy and coverage issues remain the roadblocks for use of this data in finance, we like the speed at which AgTech is evolving. Read More

Explaining the variation on credit spreads with alternative data from DNB

Dun & Bradstreet

Dun & Bradstreet has predictive data that they believe explains 15% to 35% of the total variation in credit spreads. This data could be instrumental in pricing any corporate risk asset, including investment grade corporate bonds, high-yield bonds, credit default swaps, stock volatility (stock options or variance swaps) or for modeling equity risk. Read this thoughtful analysis from in-house quant Paul K. Lieberman. Read More

Uber traffic data now available

The Verge

Uber released Uber Movement this week, a tool allegedly designed for city governments and urban planners to use when making decisions that impact the flow of traffic. Proving again that Uber is a data company, Movement measures travel times between various parts of a city, tracking how those trips get faster or slower over time. Overlaid against certain retail locations, this could prove interesting. Read More

A friendship of opposites that changed our view of human thinking

The Irish Times

Watch out for those anchors. You are probably not as unbiased in your investment decision-making as you think you are and it would serve you well to ratchet up your emotional intelligence. A primer on behavioral finance. Read More

Has credit card data already jumped the shark?

The Wall Street Journal

In many cases, credit card data points investors in the right direction… until it doesn’t. Investors are seeing increased volatility in the S&P Retail Index, possibly due in part to the widespread availability of credit card data that is only sometimes accurate. Has credit card data already diffused to the point of being table stakes for investors? The WSJ considers this possibility. Read More

Sensor-laden cars offer granular insights into many industries


Qualcomm’s newly launched Drive Data platform weaves together data from the multiple sensors already in cars, including GPS, cameras and acceleration monitors. The dataset derived from this amalgamation could offer ultra-precise point-to-point location information, along with metrics for driver behavior, fuel consumption, environmental load and much more. Read More

Fake news? The markets have dealt with that for a long time

The Fresno Bee

As it turns out, fake news is old news for veteran investors. Barry Ritholtz points to the Great Stock Exchange Fraud of 1814 as an early (and possibly fake) example. He suggests that quant funds’ algorithms are miles ahead of Facebook and Google, who are just starting to combat the problem. Read More

Mining unstructured insurance data for meaning

Property Casualty 360°

This is an impressive article about extracting meaning from text fields buried in the treasure trove of insurance data out there. While aimed at property and casualty insurance professionals, this piece describes the many ways in which unstructured insurance data can be useful. Read More

Apple set to underperform, according to Fiksu

Fiksu Blog

Fiksu is an alternative data provider with a sizable dataset of app downloads, mobile marketing events and profiles of mobile devices. In this blog post, they explain how their data shows a correlation between iPhone adoption rates and Apple’s subsequent performance relative to consensus analyst estimates. They are predicting, by the way, underperformance for the company in Q4 2016 and Q1 2017. Read More

Alternative data lands in business intelligence circles


You can skim this article; it is the mere fact of its existence that is wildly important: Alternative data has moved into the realm of BI. We know financial practitioners have been early adopters. Looks like we’re careening towards the early majority Read More

Big data highlights from 2016


A quick look at the biggest big data stories of 2016. From Facebook, Twitter and Instagram battling Geofeedia to the ongoing debate about privacy and ever-increasing funding for data-centric start-ups, 2016 was a big year for big data. Read More

What can you do with a trillion social posts?

Crimson Hexagon

Create a nifty, interactive infographic, apparently. Social media listening platform Crimson Hexagon, founded in 2007, now has a trillion posts from social media in their data store. See what they did with it. Read More

When do you quit Ikea?


Credit and financing company Earnest promotes their data by asking fun questions of it. This week: When exactly do we stop shopping at Ikea? A hint: not until well, well after college. Read More

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