Opening Cross: Looking for Data (and Beer) in All the Right Places

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Over the July 4 long weekend, I strolled around the new residential skyscrapers built along the Long Island City waterfront, and the redeveloped Gantry Plaza State Park overlooking the East River and the UN building. A few blocks inland, in a parking lot, I stumbled across the LIC Flea and Food, with vendors hawking homemade jewelry, Blue Marble organic ice cream, and Coney Shack Korean-style tacos. But even better, opposite the Flea, squeezed into an old factory or warehouse is startup brewery the Rockaway Brewing Company, home of some of the finest beer I’ve tasted in a long time.

It’s a lesson equally applicable to the world of market data sourcing. When looking for a new or special dataset, you can’t rely on discovering something new by chance. However, if you know where you’re going, you may find one thing that by chance leads you to another pleasant surprise. But you need to know where to look in the first place. And the right datasets can crop up in unusual places.

For example, Tullett Prebon Information’s commodities and credit default swap data can now be found on Turkish data vendor Matriks Bilgi Dagitim Hizmetleri’s terminals and mobile data products. If you aren’t familiar with Turkey’s data industry, Matriks claims to have 14,000 installed positions of its Matriks Data Terminal—or about 65 percent of the local market.

Similarly, Nasdaq is now making data on more than 41,000 of its indexes available via portfolio analytics software vendor StatPro’s cloud-based Revolution platform, allowing asset managers to perform calculations using the indexes as a benchmark without having to pay additional fees or arrange direct licenses with Nasdaq. The deal expands StatPro’s content while also broadening the reach of Nasdaq’s indexes, which the exchange is pushing hard as a low-cost alternative to traditional incumbent index providers.

Sometimes, though, it’s hard to find the value hidden in data—or to meet the cost of collecting and maintaining huge databases of content in-house. To help firms manage ever-growing amounts of historical trade and quote data, Tick Data is rolling out cloud options to access its tick history without maintaining on-site databases or software, enabled by the vendor’s move to an Amazon Web Services datacenter last year, after the break-up of former parent, Penson Worldwide.

And sometimes the most valuable data is the proprietary data that firms already have in-house. But the challenge then is making this data available alongside vendor data in a way that can be displayed and analyzed using the same standard tools that are being applied to other third-party datasets, to support apples-to-apples comparisons. Some vendors offer contributions systems to support inclusion of firms’ own data within their on-site terminals without distributing it to other competitors over the vendor’s network, while others offer tools that allow firms to create on-the-fly displays from multiple in-house and external datasets without being tied to a specific vendor’s display. Now, technical analysis provider Updata is joining this space by allowing traders to display data from databases or spreadsheets in Updata’s Professional analytics workstation using its new Integrate tool, allowing them to compare different sources using the same analytics.

But entering any new business area is not without risk—and costs. Hence, when startup consensus ratings data provider Credit Benchmark unveiled its service last week, it also announced $7 million in new backing led by private equity firm Index Ventures to support its expansion plans.

Ultimately, if you want data delivered in a different “container,” there needs to be a market of willing buyers ready to pay for it. So if you want a certain type of data, don’t be shy about demanding it—vendors are typically willing to work together when there’s sufficient demand that they both benefit from an integration. And to return to my original theme, if you want to see Rockaway Brewing’s fine beer brought to a wider audience by being distributed in cans rather than just on tap, check out their Kickstarter campaign.

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