Our Spring 2016 Data Demo Day took place at an interesting time. While investors have long been looking for new sources of data to support and drive their research, the Demo Day coincided with a surprisingly swift shift from incremental evolution to an industry-wide craze. Quandl has done a great job rounding up some media highlights in their weekly newsletter, launched in September 2016.

For fund managers the problem is that the most exciting new datasets coming online now tend to be so large and complex that you need a whole new skillset to use them effectively. And it’s not enough to just hire one or two data scientists – using data science resources is in itself a new skillset, one few investors have had reason to develop and many are now looking to acquire.

This skill gap represents an extraordinary opportunity for students looking to break into the buy-side.

Looking ahead to the Fall, this year it will be our top priority to help students prepare for and find opportunities at the rapidly growing intersection of technology and investment research. There are a few parts to this:

  • Raising general awareness of how different firms use data and how those strategies translate into specific skills students should be looking to build.
  • Providing direction to students who are just starting to explore this space, and helping students who are further along understand which areas they still need to work more on.
  • Giving outstanding prospects access to alternative data to help build experience immediately applicable to buy-side roles.

At the end of the day what students probably care most about is being connected to buy-side firms. Fortunately this is going to be much easier for us now than it was in years past – the group of buy-siders we gathered for our 2016 Demo Day has since grown into Augvest, an alternative data community with over 400 members representing about 130 hedge funds, PE firms, and VCs.

In short, it should be another very interesting year. Stay tuned for more details!