Quantopian Launches, Announces Funding

Thursday Jan 24, 2013 by Dennis Keohane - Contributor, VentureFizz

If your knowledge of the stock market has been shaped by Hollywood, your understanding of Wall Street may be (mis)informed by films such as The Firm, with its locked Caribbean closets and secret paper-shredding rooms. Reality and fiction are often blurred when it comes to the financial world; and yet, there are elements of the finance system that are actually still only accessible to industry insiders and the “big firms” of Wall Street.

Boston-based Quantopian aims to pull back that shroud of secrecy that cloaks Wall Street, especially within the ever-growing realm of computerized trading.

The company launched its browser-based algorithmic trading platform out of beta on Wednesday, aiming to shake up the financial world. Funded by Spark Capital and GETCO - a market making and high-speed trading company-Quantopian aspires to provide the tools, services, and support community for creating and optimizing trading algorithms in an open and transparent environment. The company has set its sights on the lofty (and noble) goal of democratizing the world of quantitative finance.

Founders John “Fawce” Fawcett and Jean Bredeche met while working together at Tamale, the research management solution provider previously founded by Fawcett. With a team of ex-Tamale employees and some former HubSpotters, Quantopian has created an easy to use platform for people to learn about, develop, and test trading algorithms, which are the mysterious and complex code behind automated stock trading.

In a press release, CEO Fawcett explained the need for a community of finance hackers. "For way too long, Wall Street has kept quantitative finance to itself by hoarding information and providing little transparency or accountability.” He further states that Quantopian wants to grow a “community by providing access to the data, infrastructure, and mentorship.”

Bredeche, Quantopian’s CTO added that they have streamlined what had been a convoluted process, creating, “an easy-to-use environment that provides instant feedback, so the development process is actually interesting again."

The company’s current goals are developing trading algorithm education, accelerating innovation, and protecting the intellectual property of its users. Additionally, Bredeche stated that he and Fawcett are “passionate about building this out even further.”  Their future plans are laid out on Quantopian’s website where a roadmap for the companies future includes a monetized live trading service that allows users to trade their algorithmic creations through brokerage accounts.

As they work towards an open source trading market, Quantopian’s grand goal is to create a financial system where we never have to worry about the Gordon Gecko’s of the world are playing with our hard-earned money.

Dennis Keohane is a teacher, journalist and contributor to VentureFizz.  You can follow Dennis on Twitter (@DBKeohane) by clicking here.

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