Best Alternative Data Provider: Quandl

Inside Market Data & Inside Reference Data Awards 2019

IMDIRD19 – 37 Best Alternative Data Provider – Quandl
(L–R) Max Bowie, Tammer Kamel, Abraham Thomas and Bill Dague

The alternative data sector is booming as hedge funds, quantitative investors and traditional fund managers seek non-traditional data sources to drive new insights, investment ideas and deliver alpha. At the forefront of this movement is the Toronto-based company recently acquired by Nasdaq—Quandl, which wins the Best Alternative Data Provider award.

Quandl provides alternative and core financial data to more than 30,000 active monthly users, and is used by eight of the top 10 hedge funds and 14 of the world’s 15 largest banks. The company’s alternative data business sources, evaluates and productizes data from non-traditional publishers and transforms it into quantified, actionable intelligence for institutional clients. 

Carrie Shaw, Quandl’s chief marketing officer, says what sets the company apart is that, while many alternative data aggregators seek comprehensiveness, Quandl seeks quality above all else, with only one in 100 datasets it evaluates ending up on the platform. Over the past three years, the company has added 50 alternative datasets, ranging from the sale of car insurance policies to point-of-sale transaction data.

The company’s proprietary system encompasses a four‑stage data process, from data sourcing and engineering to data science and delivery, and is designed to only surface exhaust data that is truly predictive of market movement. Once a dataset is selected, Quandl imports, cleans and structures the raw data, merges multiple datasets to generate insights, and maps the data to entities or tickers. All data is hosted on a single secure cloud platform and is offered to clients in their preferred formats, including Python, Excel or via an application program interface (API).

In 2018, Quandl invested in improving its entity mapping capabilities and is focused this year on building database integration so quantimental and discretionary investors who do not typically use an API can consume the data in ways that work best for them. 

While Quandl is stealing a march as the go-to resource for alternative data, the greatest milestone for the company has been its acquisition by Nasdaq in 2018. Voted Acquisition of the Year by readers for this year’s awards, the deal underscores the thriving interest among capital markets participants for non-traditional information and how Quandl is seen as a pioneer in the space.

As a result of this acquisition, the organizations have combined Nasdaq’s Analytics Hub business with Quandl, which continues to operate under the Quandl brand. “We took the Analytics Hub datasets and pulled them onto our platform,” Shaw says. “It was a smooth integration, and Quandl and Nasdaq are now pooling their resources and strengths to drive more value for institutional investors.” 


Read more about the Inside Market Data & Inside Reference Data Awards 2019 winners

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