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Data Analysis Startup Thinknum Raises $1M in Seed Round

The financial analysis platform is planning to launch a private platform for hedge funds seeking to keep their models private.

Thinknum, a web-based financial analysis platform targeting hedge funds as customers, announced today it has raised $1 million in seed funding from a group of investors.

Leading the seed funding round is Pejman Mar Ventures, a firm founded by the famed angel investor Pejman Nozad, who was the first investor in Dropbox. Other investors include:

  • Signature, headed by Bobby Yazdani, the founder of Saba Software, who has invested in other startups
  • Green Visor Capital, an early-stage venture firm focused on financial technology and founded by Joe Saunders, a former CEO/chairman at Visa, and Simon Yoo, head of Citi's FIG for Asia Pacific
  • 645 Angels, an early-stage investment fund focused on Internet and software companies
  • 500 Startups, founded by the prominent angel investor Dave McClure.

Thinknum's co-founders recently completed 500 Startups' four-month accelerator program in Mountain View, Calif., that offers hands-on advice and support. The program brings in a wide variety of experts focused on marketing, culture, startup accounting, product design, mobile, user testing, sales, and other topics.

"We understand finance and technology, but we didn't know as well how to market, how to hire engineers, and other important things to growing a startup," said Justin Zhen, who launched Thinknum with fellow Princeton University alum Gregory Ugwi last summer in their Manhattan apartment. (I covered Thinknum's history and strategy more thoroughly in February.)

On Tuesday, Zhen and Ugwi will participate in 500 Startups' demo day, an event where startups get to pitch themselves in front of a room full of investors (500 Startups invests $100,000 in each participating company). Both co-founders are returning to New York this week and plan to open a New York office in August. They don't have the office space picked out yet. "We've been focusing on closing the funding and presenting on demo data, and the next steps are to find engineers and find an office," Zhen said.

Since its inception, Thinknum has been on a mission to digitize the world's data. So far, it has connected to 2,000 data sources. It also provides a cashflow engine that lets users test their models to value stocks.

Looking to disrupt the status quo around financial analysis of corporate data, Thinknum has built an open-source platform that lets Wall Street analysts discover and share their models with other analysts.

Though Thinknum is free to those who share their models on the platform, it is also releasing a paid, private workstation for hedge funds and other finance professionals to allow institutions to keep their models private. This strategy will also enable Thinknum to monetize the platform.

"It costs $200 million per user per month. It's an order of magnitude cheaper than other analytics solutions out there," Zhen said. The firm has signed up a "good number of hedge funds" in Silicon Valley and was pleasantly surprised. When the co-founders get back to New York, they plan to sign up hedge funds and investment banks they've spoken to in the past.

Ivy is Editor-at-Large for Advanced Trading and Wall Street & Technology. Ivy is responsible for writing in-depth feature articles, daily blogs and news articles with a focus on automated trading in the capital markets. As an industry expert, Ivy has reported on a myriad ... View Full Bio

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