Goldman Sachs has led a $15 million investment round in Kensho, a startup that is seeking to supplant human equity analysts with intelligent big data mining bots.
Built by a team of veteran software engineers with backgrounds at giants including Google and Apple, the Cambridge MA.-based firm is billed as 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.
Kensho 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.
Goldman Sachs becomes the largest strategic investor in Kensho, and will join the board as an observer. As part of the deal, Kensho named Rana Yared, managing director in the Securities Division at Goldman Sachs, to its board of directors. Don Duet, global co-head of Goldman Sachs' Technology Division, will join Kensho's Advisory Board.
Tony Pasquariello, co-head of North American Equity Derivatives Sales in the Securities Division at Goldman Sachs says the company plans to use Kensho's real-time statistical computing and analytics technology across the firm.
"Our unique partnership with Kensho is an extension of our overall strategy of using and investing in new technology which allows us to deliver insights to our clients," he says. "We are excited to work with Kensho to develop user-friendly big data analytics tools which can be put into the hands of our client facing teams."
Kensho initially raised raised $10 million in seed funding in January from a group of investors including General Catalyst, NEA, Accel Partners, Google Ventures, and Devonshire Investors, among others.