The investment community and Wall Street is dependent on access to information. Access to the right information in a timely manner makes a significant difference and this difference can result in both the losses and gains of fortunes, every second more crucial than the one before it. Serving this market is Accern, a real time news and analytics platform that uses AI to monitor over 1 Billion news sources to deliver curated news to financial professionals. Traders and brokers no longer need to rely on an outdated Bloomberg to have the most relevant news at their fingertips.
AlleyWatch spoke with cofounder and CEO Kumesh Aroomoogan about the startup and the most recent round of funding.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We raised a$2.1M Pre-Series A. The participants in the raise include Cane Investment Partners and private executives from Gurtin Ventures, Affinity Investment Group, Belmond Capital, VYL LLC, 26 Ventures, Credit Suisse, and Deutsche Banks.
Tell us about Accern.
Our product currently monitors over 1 billion websites (all public news, blogs, social media websites) and it curates the news for the most relevant stories. Right now we’re working with many multibillion dollar hedge funds and banks to consolidate all their existing news subscriptions feeds into a centralized news platform (the Accern platform) and then we curate the news using our artificial intelligence technologies to help them find the most relevant stories on stocks they are tracking.
Born out of a frustration for an intelligent newsfeed that condenses social media rumors, news sites and key financial data, Accern is a real-time news surveillance terminal powered by proprietary artificial intelligence algorithms that alerts traders and brokers on rumors and stories that can drive early trading decisions. Traders and brokers from the largest international financial institutions and hedge funds use the media enterprise to detect news in real-time that could impact market prices.
I used to be an equity researcher at Citi and I used to monitor multiple news feeds (Bloomberg, Thomson reuters, Dow Jones, etc.) on multiple screens to find actionable information on a stock. Sometimes a major news happens and you don’t realized it in time because there is no signal that says “Hey pay attention to this news”. So the idea sparked from this. It would have been good if I could consolidate all the news I am looking at on multiple screen into a single platform and then set critical alerts so it automatically alerts me of major news events right away. Also at that time my cofounder Anshul was doing something similar with news but dealing with the United Nations.
How is Accern different?
You can think of our technology as 80 percent out-of-the-box and the rest of the 20 percent is customized based on customers’ requirements. By applying this 20 percent customization strategy, we automatically create a customer that will stick with us for a while and will be happy to sign multi-year agreements because of the value we created for them. They simply will not get the same value from other competitors that sell out-of-the-box news solutions.
Some other competitive advantages are listed below:
- We have the largest public financial news coverage (1 billion websites).
- We have the largest selection of financial news analytics (60+ news metrics)
- We have the fastest on-premise deployment to process internal documents (4-6 weeks)
- We have the fastest news processing time (40 ms per article)
- We have the highest customer lifetime value compare to competitors (custom solutions)
Our automated sales method keeps us lean and outperforms competitors’ sales forces.
Other competitive advantage includes:
- Real-time public financial news coverage
- Largest selection of financial news analytics
- Most intuitive interface for traders and researchers
- Fastest On-Premise deployment (4-6 weeks on average)
- Fastest information processing at 40ms per article, on average
- Fastest access to breaking news on low-traffic sites
- Highest customer lifetime value on custom solutions
- Automated sales method for finance sector
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
We are currently targeting the financial service industry specially the banks. The financial industry alone is $50b+ when it comes to solutions like ours.
What’s your business model?
Accern offers out of the box and custom services for enterprise users. Platform costs start at $1500/month for up to 5 users. API pricing varies by fund size, asset-classes, and news coverage.
How has the business changed since we last spoke with you in June?
We increased our asset class coverage to global equities, commodities, forex, and cryptocurrencies. We have also got into major strategic partnerships with firms like IBM.
What was the funding process like?
It was a quick funding process with 90% of our existing investors coming back in with additional capital due to our growth rate at Accern.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Successfully hitting promised revenue targets each quarter.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
The market demand for our product, pipeline, and revenue growth.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
- Fine tune our sales process and make it scalable within the quantitative hedge funds space and with banks.
- Explore other scalable areas within the financial services that can utilized our solution and create an execution plan to scale within those areas with additional capital.
- Improve our product with additional metrics and asset coverage such as private companies and macros.
- Raise a Series A financing round to scale Accern quickly within the industry.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Bootstrap, understand your customers, understand your sales process, think of innovative ways to get signed contracts and commitments, then set out to raise capital.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
Our main focus is to hit our revenue targets. We’re focusing on closing as many quantitative hedge fund clients in the space while exploring multiple areas within the financial service area that we can scale towards.
Where is your favorite bar in the city for an after work drink?
Lebain, W Hotel Downtown Bar, or Ph-D Midtown