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.

What is Your Data Worth?


It’s understandable for data owners to assume that their data is worth millions when their big-bank, hedge fund customers make billions, but it’s not that simple. In this thoughtful post, Rich Brown walks us through factors we have to examine when assessing the value of data. Does it have predictive power? Is it available exclusively? How deep is the history? Is it easy to use? Those of us making a business out of data need to understand all of this and more. Read More

Woebegone Stock Pickers Vow: “We Shall Return”

Wall Street Journal

Are we really already talking about the other side of the coin? Sophisticated data and technology are becoming available at unprecedented rates. Meanwhile, there are asset managers who still prefer to make money with good old-fashioned, fundamental stock picking. While some think that quantitative funds are the only ones with any advantage in today’s era of data ubiquity, others stick to their old methods and believe a revival is imminent. Read More

Weapons of Math Destruction

Big Think

There’s the story data tells, and then there’s the real story. In her new book, former hedge fund data scientist Cathy O’Neil explains that mathematics is “not only deeply entangled in the world’s problems but also fueling many of them.” In fact, algorithms that blindly make decisions based on math and data alone could be ruining our lives. Now that’s something to think about if you write algorithms for a living. Read More

The Search For Edge In Emerging Markets

Chief Investment Officer

According to Geoffrey Wong from USB Asset Management, emerging markets are very inefficient, with information about companies being less “baked into the price” of a stock. What does this mean? That here lies a golden opportunity for outperformance, and what better way than through alternative data? Unfortunately, such data is hard to gather from emerging markets where the internet has not penetrated as deeply compared to developed markets. Nevertheless, companies mining this data are ready for the challenge. Read More

Tudor Said to Invest Millions to Blend Data and Macro


Paul Tudor Jones joins the ranks of data-obsessed hedge fund billionaires. His company recently invested in a pair of startups led by entrepreneur Gil Syswerda that explore better ways to digest and interpret data from non-traditional sources. He has also doubled down on investing in his own data science team, like others in the industry. Can Jones leverage data and the scientists who interpret it to restore his returns to their former glory? That’s the bet. Read More

Good News for Investors: Marketers Are Closing in on Mobile Attribution

Street Fight

Mobile attribution is the holy grail of marketing; its complexities hotly debated and analyzed. We are getting ever closer to understanding the relationships between our mobile behavior and in-store purchases. If this can truly be solved, it will provide a big advantage – not only to retailers but to investors in retail companies as well. Read More

On Demand Drone Reconnaissance Missions


Well this is very convenient: Hangar Technology wants companies to be able to book drones and a drone pilot to gather data on an as-needed basis. From disaster surveillance for insurance companies, to crop assessments for farmers and commodities traders, the uses for such a service are endless. Regulatory issues aside, this could be a data hunter’s dream. Read More

Playing Matchmaker for Startups and Big Investors

Harvard Business Review

Remember missed connections on Craigslist? That seems to be the case for startups and large institutional investors like pension funds, endowments, and sovereign wealth funds. Harvard Business Review research shows that while 76% of these investors see the potential for startups to drive innovation, exactly 0 have anything in place to proactively seek them out. HBR thinks things will improve, that “startups and large investors will soon become better at finding one another.” What opportunities will flourish when these connections are no longer missed? Read More

America’s Spy Agency Is Investing in Data


In-Q-Tel is the CIA’s enigmatic venture capital arm and its investments reveal that they, too, are interested in the same technologies as the world’s leading hedge funds, particularly with respect to lightning-fast data processing capabilities. Our friends at MapD are gaining traction and have secured investment from In-Q-Tel. Their powerful database can scan data at 5TB per second and is already being used by banks, government agencies and telcos. Speed still may hold an edge, after all. Read More

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