Big Data Technology for Investor Protection

The Google of Finance prepares its launch in Lausanne

Les Echos: Tuesday, February 16th 2010

Cfinancials will offer the general public the world's most comprehensive free online database of listed financial products. The information will come from recognized sources. Listings will be updated at the end of each day.

I do not see why we should not become the Google of the financial world. There is no reason for us not to achieve this goal. The chairman of the board of Cfinancials, Yves Aellig, does not doubt the success of his venture for a second. His company will offer the world's most comprehensive free online database, covering 99% of publicly available financial products, including those that are listed, traded OTC, or negotiated by a financial company, and private investments. The system is already capable of processing data for 6.9 million products, for which 3.5 billion values and prices are updated at the end of the day after the close of the New York Stock Exchange. Listings will not be updated during the session. The information is provided by recognized sources. Thomson Reuters, Six Telekurs and Dow Jones News have already agreed to work with the Swiss startup, which will pay them a subscription to publish their data.

The idea to create the financial information site was born in 2003. It was then that we realized that the stock market was becoming increasingly popular with the general public, explains Yves Aellig, who recently sold his record company, Musicora, to Harmonia Mundi, and we decided to create a free site, somewhat like Bloomberg, which is aimed at professionals.

Funded through advertising

The initial capital was raised with the help of private equity companies and institutional investors who invested several million Swiss francs. Cfinancials' director then recruited software developers who spent three years preparing the database. Unlike other sites, this platform's primary function is to provide free information. In contrast to Boursorama, it does not act as a broker and enable the products presented to be purchased. However, the selection of search categories with a few clicks and the instant display of the number of results for the selected criteria should attract investors. Several banks, including HSBC and Banque Cantonale Vaudoise, have already tested the site which should be offered to the general public within the next twelve months.

The company will be funded through advertising placed on the site, for example for new financial products. Banks will also be able to pay to be among the first results that are displayed. Premium services will offer detailed comparisons and analysis tools. And, for a fee, companies will be able to offer the database to their customers with their own logo. If successful, Cfinancials, which currently employs ten people, will need additional funds in order to finance its growth. An IPO would then be conceivable. However, hypothesizes Yves Aellig, it is quite possible that, for competitive reasons, a large company specializing in Internet services would buy us before an IPO. In that instance, Google could well be a potential buyer. And the circle would then be complete...