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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.

Are Drones A Legitimate Source of Alpha?


The commercial drone market is expected to balloon to USD 1.05 billion by 2020. While already being used in the agriculture, mining and insurance industries, drone data’s availability for capital markets remains a challenge. The corpus exists, but some question its quality and many question its ownership. Read More

Inside Billionaire Steve Cohen’s Comeback


In 2013, billionaire Steve Cohen paid a $1.8 billion fine and shut down his hedge fund after pleading guilty for insider-trading. Now, like Phoenix from the ashes, Cohen has risen again, this time as a data hunter for his new firm, Point72. “I’m like a kid in a candy store,” he says, of touring Silicon Valley looking for data to use. Of course this time, whether the data is from credit cards or satellites, it must be honestly verified, legally usable and still generate incredible returns for one very resilient hedge fund manager.Read More

Gut Instinct Guides Us and We’re Lucky It Does

Ottawa Citizen

There’s Darwin’s idea of natural selection, and then there’s this: that the markets select for good gut instincts. Derivatives-trader-turned-physiology-researcher John Coates studied the correlation between trading performance and strong gut instincts. It turns out that traders who are aware of their own heart rate and stress levels make better trading decisions and last longer in the business. Proving that even our gut instincts can be data driven. Read More<

Twilight of the Quants – Everything Old Is New Again

Tabb Forum

From July 2015 to July 2016, hedge funds faced a struggle to return even 3%. Why the difficulty? Quandl’s Abraham Thomas explains in this piece for Tabb Forum that the industry is undergoing a secular shift: the primary source of investment alpha is shifting from technology to data. Though not unprecedented, this is the first time we have had access to such a vast corpus of potentially predictive data. “Hedge funds, investment managers and data vendors that recognize and act on this shift will be successful. The others will be left behind.” >Read More

Catana’s Big Data Fund Stumbles, Founder to Take Up CEO Role


Despite the explosion in so much actionable data, not all is well for every quant fund. Frankfurt-based Catana Capital launched its Big Data fund on June 30, 2016. The company has indicated that bugs in its algorithms are to blame for it’s -3.9% loss, and has made some management moves to course correct. Read More

Quantbot Hunts for Brainpower to Feed Quantitative Model

Financial Times

Conversely, quantitative firm Quantbot, also betting hard on data, is performing very well and growing fast, as reviewed by the Financial Times. Quantbot’s platform is ready to rumble, but it lacks trading signals and it needs people to put all the pieces together. It’s always nice to see that the machines aren’t taking over yet. Read More

Following the Money in Today’s Internet of Things


We’re headed for a trillion dollar sensor ecosystem, which is virtually unfathomable. Here is how money is being spent on the Internet of Things today. Read More

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