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Elsen raises USD2.4m in seed funding round

Elsen, a Platform-as-a-Service company for large financial institutions, has raised USD2.4 million in a seed extension round led by Hyperplane Venture Capital with participation from Accomplice, Launch Capital and hand-picked angel investors from the startup and financial community.

As part of the investment, Hyperplane managing partner, Jack Klinck (pictured), who previously spent nearly two decades in executive roles at State Street and BNY Mellon, will join the company’s board of directors as Chairman.
This investment brings Elsen’s total funding to USD2.9 million since the company’s inception in 2014. The funds will be used to bolster sales and marketing, expand Elsen’s engineering team, extend support services for existing customers, and integrate more premium financial data into its platform-as-a-service.
According to a survey by EY, 83 per cent of banking, capital markets, insurance, and wealth and asset management professionals agreed that data is their most valuable strategic asset. However, financial firms face numerous challenges in extracting value from data, including legacy infrastructure still used throughout the industry, and a shortage of skilled data professionals. In fact, only 26 per cent of respondents rated their organisation as highly mature in terms of its ability to realise value from data assets. In addition, only 22 per cent rated their organisation highly mature in terms of its relevant data skills and human capital. 
“Financial services firms run on decades-old technology because of the industry’s conservative nature and the potential downtime and risks of migrating to new systems. But with digital transformation being a top priority across industries, financial institutions are running out of time and have to adapt now,” says Klinck. “Investment professionals simply need better ways to access and use data, and that’s exactly what Elsen delivers. Its unique platform-as-a-service provides instant access to premium financial datasets, proprietary technology to analyse it at unbelievable speeds, and the tools to create a user experience that’s simple for anyone.”  
Creating custom applications that allow investment, research and analytics professionals to quickly and easily work with massive amounts of data currently requires expensive infrastructure, teams of professionals to manage it, and extended periods of time to build applications on top of it. And financial institutions are still left with tools that require expert users and hours or days to analyse data.
Elsen nPlatform enables financial institutions to build applications that let any user analyse data in minutes, not days, so they can transform traditional investment workflows, strategies and results. And it does so without investments in expensive infrastructure, the resources to continually maintain it, or the expertise required to cleanse and manage data – one of the most time consuming and error-prone components of investment analytics. Through relationships with the most respected vendors in the financial services industry – such as Thomson Reuters, MSCI, and Standard & Poor’s – Elsen provides access to thousands of data sets. Cleansing, normalising and aggregating this data is a critical and resource-intensive first step to extracting value from it that Elsen eliminates for its customers. As Elsen continuously adds data to the nPlatform, it is immediately available for all entitled customers.
Financial institutions that build applications on Elsen nPlatform can use pre-integrated financial datasets or upload their own. And Elsen’s technology enables them to work with and analyse this financial data faster than ever thanks to its custom programming language and a massively parallel processing architecture designed for high-performance computing. In addition, machine learning and artificial intelligence provide substantial time savings by automating common workflows and data discovery, helping users uncover insights they would have never found otherwise.
Elsen’s award-winning technology has been recognised this year through a number of accolades from prominent industry organisations. The company won “Best Tech Innovation of the Year” at the 2017 Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange (MITX) Awards, “Innovative Tech of the Year: Financial” at the 2017 Mass Technology Leadership (MassTLC) Awards, and was a finalist in the UBS Future of Finance Challenge.
“The World Economic Forum issued a report on disruption in financial services which said that innovations are having the greatest impact where they employ business models that are platform-based, data-intensive, and capital light. Elsen checks all those boxes,” says Zac Sheffer, Elsen’s co-founder and CEO. “We’re focused on smart growth and in a few short years have built and deployed a platform that’s already driving value for investment professionals around the world. With this investment, and through strengthening partnerships with people and firms that have extensive experience in financial services, we’re on a great path to revolutionising how investment professionals use and access data.” 
Elsen’s technology is already being used by financial firms and investment professionals around the world. In April, the company launched Thomson Reuters QA Point Powered by Elsen, the first commercial application built on Elsen nPlatform. It was first introduced to Thomson Reuters customers in North America, and due to overwhelmingly positive feedback extended to clients and customers worldwide.

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