Podcasts

Quandl’s Tammer Kamel: ‘Investors are looking for gold nuggets in a sea of data’

  • The explosion of data in the world has quants hungry for new strategies.
  • Quandl's Tammer Kamel joins us on the podcast to talk about the market for alternative data.
close

Email a Friend

Tammer Kamel spent some formative years as a quant. Now a self-declared "Wall Street refugee", he runs five-year-oldold Quandl, a data outfit tailored for quantitative analysts. Quandl burst on to the scene by making data sets more useful, delivering data the way a modern quant wants data. The company has recently expanded into developing its own alternative data sets that are being used by some of the smartest investors around. Kamel joins us on the Tearsheet Podcast this week to talk about how the data business is evolving around the changing nature of quantitative investing. We talk about where demand is coming and how his firm is coping with the challenges of building for scale. SubscribeiTunes I SoundCloud Below are highlights, edited for clarity, from the episode. As a quant, what were your biggest pain points? The frustration I had was kind of a universal pain point for quants. Data is never easy to find and it's never easy to get into the format of the system you want. If you talk to any analyst, they'll tell you they spend half their lives -- maybe more -- trying to find, format, validate, organize, merge, and ultimately set up the data for the analysis they want to do. The analysis is often the pleasant and easier part of the task. The problem is data is spread out across all different systems and protocols. One data set you can get as a .csv and another as an API -- still others may be in a PDF and you have to pull the data out of the PDF. You have to remember that many of the incumbents in this space aren't motivated to let the data they offer flow easily to many places. The whole terminal model is built on this idea that one person will sit at this piece of hardware and use this software. it's a great business model but particularly incompatible with how quants need to work. They need to pull data from different sources, amalgamate them, run analysis and pump this data through programs they've written.  The status quo on Wall Street doesn't facilitate this. The move into providing alternative data With Quandl's core business, we do really well with niche quants, fintechs, small funds and lots of retail-type customers who need data. But, it's very difficult for Quandl to displace a large incumbent at a large institution. It's a hard sell to go into a bank and tell them to rip out Thomson Reuters because we have a better API. The growth market for us is to bring new, powerful data to these institutions. If I go into these institutions and say, here's a data set that you cannot get this data set on Bloomberg and it makes you better at doing what you do -- well, that's a much easier sell. More fundamentally, we realized that two things are going on: one one side of us, the global data explosion is happening with satellites, drones, mobile phones, the internet of things, and every company is becoming data-centric at a time when professional investors are very hungry for new ways to generate alpha. There is no more potent alpha source than an information advantage. We are looking for gold nuggets in the sea of data that the world is awash in. How do you price unique alternative data? Pricing is tricky because the value of a particular data set depends on the marginal impact it has for a particular customer. I can bring a data set to Customer A and it can be absolutely potent for them because they now have access to something they've never had before. I can bring the same data set to Customer B, who has access to other data sources, and ultimately the marginal impact of this data source is less than for Customer A. We price data based on what we believe the full impact of the data set is. We know what it's worth in an absolute sense because we think like investors. Typically, that looks like $40,000 to $500,000 a year, depending on the data set.

0 comments on “Quandl’s Tammer Kamel: ‘Investors are looking for gold nuggets in a sea of data’”

Podcasts

‘There’s been a shift in what banks want to work on versus what consumers are driving’: Mambu’s Robin Smith

  • Mambu's Robin Smith has been through a cycle or two with core banking software.
  • He joins us on the Tearsheet Podcast to discuss what the evolution of banking software has to tell us about banks' needs today.
Zachary Miller | February 01, 2023
Payments, Power of Payments Podcast

Power of Payments Ep. 22: ‘Frankly, the most important asset for SMB owners is time’ – Chase’s Brad Brodigan

  • Brad Brodigan, managing director and global head of SMB payments at Chase, joins host Ismail Umar on this week’s podcast.
  • He discusses the most important trends he’s seeing in SMB payments, the kinds of attributes SMBs look for in a payment processor, and how their needs differ from those of enterprise and retail customers.
Ismail Umar | January 27, 2023
Podcasts

Behind the launch of the QuickBooks Business Network with Intuit’s Juliana Berger

  • Intuit is looking to get a bigger payments chunk of the $2 trillion in invoices it tracks on QuickBooks.
  • The firm has launched a B2B business network aimed at targeting larger firms with payments automation.
Zachary Miller | January 26, 2023
Podcasts

Behind Citi’s move to become a global partner bank, with Chafic Haddad

  • If 2022 was the year of launching partnerships between FIs and tech firms, this year is more about fine-tuning them.
  • Tearsheet sat down with Chafic Haddad to discuss what Citi offers fintechs and the challenges and opportunities in providing these firms with global transaction and trade capabilities. 
Zachary Miller | January 18, 2023
Podcasts

Steez Podcast #5: Gen Zers – the sustainable generation

  • Gen Z and Millennials make up 50% of the world’s population. And 75% agree that their investment decisions can influence climate change.
  • They are not just investing to align with their values. They're actively driving change with their purchasing preferences and with every transaction.
Tearsheet Editors | January 18, 2023
More Articles