Eagle Alpha’s second annual alternative data industry report explores industry-wide alternative data growth and trends, M&A in the alternative data vertical, the most engaged research and publications from the year gone by, and outlines the resolve to solve buyer and vendor needs through product development including platforms, improved taxonomy, data connectivity, and compliance features.
Alternative Data M&A is Heating Up: Looking Back and Ahead
New industries are typically fragmented with numerous small players competing for market share. Industries then consolidate as they become more mature. According to A.T. Kearney’s study, all industries go through a consolidation life cycle which consists of five stages – opening, plateau, concentration, dominance, and reopening. Every company in every industry goes through these stages or disappears. Increased competition, changing regulations, new technologies, and increasing customer sophistication is putting pressure on today’s technology leaders and alternative data vendors. Companies would mostly pursue mergers and acquisitions to gain scale advantages and accelerate growth. A size advantage often lowers costs leading to competitive advantage and to competitive price setting.
Satellite Data for Investors: A Note on Recent Market Trends and Demand Drivers
Satellite data, also referred to as geospatial data, is photographic images collected by satellites orbiting the earth and can be enhanced with data from drones and radar. Asset managers first tried using satellite data back in 2010 with CNBC reporting that “Cold War-style satellite surveillance is being used to gather market-moving information”. According to the article, UBS Investment Research used data from RS Metrics to count cars in Walmart parking lots to help estimate revenues, a strategy also implemented by Walmart’s founder Sam Walton using airplanes in the 1970s.
The View from the Lakeshore
Much has been said in the data world about ideal states: “Data at your fingertips”, “Plug-and-play insights”, “Empower your whole organization with data”, and “Democratizing insights from data”. This list is long, and to be honest, does sound great. There is value in setting such big-picture goals in an organization, but often the route to go from here to there is a lot harder than initially considered. Data Warehouses such as Snowflake are often proposed as the solution that ushers in this step-change in organizational performance. If only your data was one well-defined, easy-to-understand, definitely maintained query away, everyone would be able to incorporate it into their day-to-day decisions. At Eagle Alpha, we think Data Warehouses can be useful but often find ourselves in a chicken-and-egg situation with them. As mentioned, Data Warehouses do their best when the data is organized, but who is supposed to do that organizing and how? How do you know what to set up so that data users in your organization can hit the ground running when all you have are 300,000 poorly named CSV files of unknown content scattered across 1500 sub-directories of sub-directories? The ideal starts to drift pretty far away when that is the reality – a reality that many organizations face even with the internal data that they nominally can control the production of. Add in the requirement to incorporate external third-party sources of data, and soon addressing the ambiguity and confusion that stems from this data circus becomes the all-consuming job of many data engineering teams.
Data Sourcing: The Key to Any Alternative Data Initiative
As asset managers invest resources into building out alternative data initiatives, data sourcing is seen as an integral part of the process, with in-house and outsourced professionals finding and introducing datasets and data vendors. With datasets rapidly growing in price and impacting the growth in spending of firms buying alternative data, the data sourcing function is now more critical than ever before. These results are based on our first-of-its-kind survey of 24 buyside funds with varying levels of alternative data experience.
The end to end challenges of evaluating alternative data: And how Exabel and Eagle Alpha have partnered to solve them
Exabel and Eagle Alpha’s partnership takes on this challenge end to end. By combining Eagle Alpha’s deep knowledge and expertise in the alternative data ecosystem with Exabel’s powerful analysis platform, investment teams can finally tackle these operational and technical challenges holistically, delivering efficient data evaluation, at scale.
Most Squeezable U.S. Stocks | S3 Partners Guest Blog
The recent rally off the June 16 lows (S&P 500 +5.36%, Nasdaq +7.57%, Russell 3000 +5.42%) has made some crowded shorts more squeezable. We have seen the number of highly squeezable stocks in our Squeeze metric since June 15 more than double, and our average squeeze score has increased by over 250% (from 12.22 to 31.48). The Consumer Discretionary (primarily auto) and HealthCare (Biotech) sectors have the most constituents in the top 25 most squeezable stocks.
Alternative Data for Private Markets
Alternative data is increasingly being used in private markets, including private equity, real estate, credit, and infrastructure, across deal origination, due diligence, and post-acquisition value creation and risk mitigation. Initially, interest in alternative data began when companies wanted additional information around digital market spend comparisons and reputation and social media review comparisons.
Alternative Data for Tracking Employment Trends
Employment data has been the 4th most popular alternative data category on the Eagle Alpha data discovery platform over the past 12 months, seeing a 40% YoY increase in the number of employment datasets onboarded. Job listings data provide asset managers holistic information on total employee count, job functions, skills, gender, and tenure which can then be used to measure firm performance, hiring strategy, employee turnover, headcount growth, and estimate expenses. Employment data can also take the form of employee profiles and company reviews which can help measure employee perception and sentiments, thus providing a good use case not only for firms dealing with public equities but also for private equity in the form of deal origination analysis and due diligence.
The Rise in Alternative Data for Crypto Investors
Cryptocurrency, or “crypto” as it has become widely referred to, has been one of the quickest moving trends in the investment space of late, with retail and institutional investors throwing their hats in the ring. While traditional markets must obtain all their information from external entities, through conventional channels like Bloomberg or via alternative sources such as satellite and geolocation, cryptocurrency provides the opportunity to also look at global internal data. Thanks to blockchain technology, you can get real-time statistics for anything on-chain.