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In 2011, John Collins was a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), focused on finance and statistics. His life changed during class one day, when he met two people who shared common interests about leveraging non-financial data sources for drawing economic insights. One was Greg Skibiski, a visiting lecturer, and the other, Wei Pan, a PhD student in computational science. 

One development led to another, and the next year, all three found themselves working

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