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Kensho raises $10m to build a Siri-like assistant for capital markets trading

23 January 2014  |  5378 views  |  0 Stock market graph

US start-up Kensho has raised $10 million in seed funding to build an "intelligent market research assistant" that will answer complex financial questions asked in natural language.

The funding comes from General Catalyst, NEA, Accel Partners, Google Ventures, Devonshire Investors, and other VCs.

Built by a team of veteran software engineers with backgrounds at giants including Google and Apple, the assistant, called Warren, aims to provide professional-grade research and analysis to the masses.

Warren currently answers a million distinct types of natural language questions about the impact of global events on asset prices. Users type in a market related question, such as: What happens to the share prices of energy companies when oil trades above $100 a barrel and political unrest has recently occurred in the Middle East?

The system then analyses worldwide event data and presents the results using intuitive graphical user interfaces in a fraction of the time spent by institutional research teams today, and without writing code, boasts Kensho.

Daniel Nadler, CEO, Kensho, says that Warren is a financial services equivalent of the virtual intelligent assistants being built by the world's biggest tech firms - such as Apple's Siri, IBM's Watson and Google's Now.

The assistant is built completely on Nasdaq OMX FinQloud, a secure cloud computing platform designed for the financial services sector. Using the cloud lets smaller firms that still rely on Excel to compete with the big hedge funds that spend millions of dollars on fixed computing infrastructures.

The platform will have to support one of the "most significant engineering challenges in the history of financial technology," claims Nadle. "It will require that an intelligent computer system read millions of pages of natural language documents and have total recall of petabytes of financial data, analysing the cross-implications in a matter of seconds".

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