Financial technology start-up Street Contxt just landed an investment from hedge funder Steve Cohen and renowned venture capital investor Joe Lonsdale to solve one of the investment banking industry's biggest problems and raise a few more dollars in the process.
"We want you to take back your in-box," said Blair Livingston, Street Contxt CEO, whose company is currently selling software to help sell- and buy-side analysts, institutional investors and other investment professionals manage published content.
Street Contxt, which has raised a total of $15 million to date, uses machine learning to purvey sell-side research, trading desk information, market commentary, among other sources of content, and prioritize the swath of information based on a proprietary algorithm.
Street Contxt said Wednesday that it received an investment from a consortium of investors including Point72 Ventures, the early-stage fund of Cohen's Point72 Asset Management, venture firms Palm Drive Capital and Portag3 Ventures LP and Lonsdale, the former CEO of data management company Palantir Technologies.
Street Contxt's technology will help asset managers deal with pending regulations in Europe that will force institutional investors to push the cost of research analysts to clients or onto their own balance sheet versus the traditional way of payment through trading commissions.
The rules will put a premium on accurate and market-moving research as firms look to keep costs down.
"We want to help manage the content people are inundated with each day," said Livingston, a former RBC Capital Markets executive. "We go into meetings and ask, 'how many unread emails do you have?' Many times its 50,000 to 60,000."
The Toronto-based company has been pitching its technology to both sell- and buy-side clients, over which time its recent funding round came together.
"We started ramping up our buy-side efforts in the middle of 2016 and as we went to different places we started hearing that companies were interested in either investing directly or acquiring the business outright," Livingston said in an interview. "Everyone from brokerages and financial technology companies have asked but I think at this point our mission must remain independent."
Lonsdale, an existing investor in Street Contxt through his firm 8VC, is a well-known investor in Silicon Valley, having backed various tech success stories including Oculus VR, which sold to Action Alerts PLUS portfolio holdings Facebook (FB) - Get Report in 2014 for $2 billion, and upstart meal-kit delivery company Plated.
Lonsdale and Cohen were both part of the founding group at data analytics company Palantir. Palantir recently raised almost $900 million, at a reported valuation of $20 billion, and also calls Pete Theil a co-founder.
As for Street Contxt, Lonsdale sees a bright future for a company that is seeking to address one of the brokerage industry's largest problems.
"The asset management industry is currently undergoing immense change, and Street Contxt's data-driven networks increase transparency and help both brokers and asset managers focus on the analysis that is both most valuable and relevant to traders and the functioning of the markets," Lonsdale said in a statement.
Street Contxt hasn't yet tapped an investment bank to manage its funding efforts though it has worked with legal firms DLA Piper and Latham & Watkins throughout the process.