At the heart of every financial services firm’s operations is a team of data scientists whose job it is to take all of the information that comes in and structure it in a way that the rocket scientists and genius mathematicians on staff can turn into something useful for their equations and analysis.
It’s a time-consuming, labor-intensive and difficult job that only a select few can handle. Those select few have now launched Crux Informatics to take over the data processing that big banks need done.
The company is emerging from stealth with a $10 million investment led by Goldman Sachs, to manage what the company calls the “information supply chain” that’s beginning to get out of hand for most big institutions that live and die by data analysis.
Goldman Sachs Principal Strategic Investments Group led the new round, which included additional undisclosed institutional investors, and will be used to expand the product suite for its large customers in the financial services industry.
“The emergence of unstructured data as an important input into the investment process creates a great opportunity for financial institutions, but only if actionable insights can be extrapolated from it,” said Darren Cohen, global head of Goldman Sachs’ Principal Strategic Investments group, in a statement. “Crux’s innovative approach — coupled with their deep expertise in financial services and capital markets — brings economies of scale that will allow companies to be more agile, inventive and effective with data.”
Think of Crux as a Switzerland for data storage and services. The company won’t reveal any information or resell to anyone else the proprietary information it processes and holds for its clients. It’s merely a processing engine for taking the data that big banks and businesses that depend on big data sets need, and crunches that data — reducing it to the metrics that matter most for the clients it serves.
“Gathering information about the world, doing analysis, and driving unique insight is the life-blood of the financial industry”, said Philip Brittan, the chief executive officer of Crux, in a statement. “It is a hard process filled with numerous pain points. Crux is a unique new offering, created to help our clients much more easily find, explore, and make use of relevant data. We take on the burdensome and non-differentiating aspects of our customers’ information supply chains, so they can focus on what really matters for their business. In doing so, we strive to make data delightful.”
Brittan and his founding executive team have a deep knowledge of the ways in which these data sets work. The former chief technology officer of Thomson Reuters financial risk division, Brittan previously worked as the former head of foreign exchange at Bloomberg and as the former chief of Google Finance before founding Crux. He’s joined by Larry Leibowitz, who previously worked as the COO and head of global equities listing and trading at Euronext, and Elizabeth Pritchard, who heads the company’s go-to-market strategy and previously worked at Goldman Sachs for 19 years as the company’s head of Market Data Services.
On top of the deep data expertise of Crux’s founding team, the company has also rolled out a toolset for creating data pipelines, a set of APIs to connect with existing financial services applications and a provisioning system to provide audit trails to track who used the data in an organization.