Today, Coalesce.Info, a research application that combines machine learning with human expertise for intelligent investment research, is pleased to partner with PitchBook, a private financial market data platform. Through the partnership, Coalesce will now provide API access to PitchBook’s superior information for use in the entire lifecycle of private capital investing.
For more than a decade, PitchBook has provided information on the global private capital markets, including financing rounds, valuations and deal terms. Coalesce, a pioneer of AI in the financial sector, uses IBM Watson to dramatically increase investment research productivity by filtering and analyzing vast quantities of textual content faster than humanly possible.
Investment researchers and analysts are overwhelmed with data, especially with the exponential growth of unstructured content. Coalesce’s users teach the system to perform repetitive searches on their behalf, dramatically improving their efficiency and productivity and resulting in highly actionable information and competitive advantage.
“At PitchBook we work to arm professionals with the most comprehensive data on the private capital markets as well as the tools to make the data actionable and easy to analyze,” said Steve Carver, Managing Director of PitchBook. “We’re able to extend that effort through our latest partnership with Coalesce’s platform that uses AI for content analysis, and integrates our data into our clients’ workflow where they’re already doing their work.”
“We are excited to include PitchBook’s comprehensive information about private capital markets in our product,” shared Greg Woolf, founder and president of Coalesce.Info. “The richness of PitchBook’s data combined with our machine-learning for intelligent search will dramatically improve productivity and provide a competitive advantage to our mutual clients.”
About PitchBook: PitchBook is the industry’s leading resource for meaningful information about global VC, PE and M&A activity. PitchBook empowers over 2,000 clients to make the most informed business decisions by providing them with the highest quality information on the entire investment lifecycle through its flagship product, the PitchBook Platform. This award-winning, web-based platform features a powerful suite of integrated technology that meets the diverse, data-driven needs of the private markets. http://www.pitchbook.com
Coalesce CEO presents at the 2016 TechII Forum at Harvard University on the use of Artificial Intelligence for Investment Research. Coalesce uses IBM Watson to empower deal teams to identify the best opportunities faster than their competitors."
Click here to see all the Featured Speakers at the 2016 TechII Forum at Harvard University: http://techii.org/speaker2016/
We are pleased to announce that Coalesce has been chosen to present at the HUBweek festival that will showcase and convene the highest impact startups and companies in Greater Boston’s innovation ecosystem.
Join us on September 30th, from 11 am - 7 pm at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston MAREGISTER FOR THE FREE EVENT
We are pleased to announce our 3rd presentation in the series on Real Life Examples of Cognitive Computing – “Cognitive in the Workplace” sponsored by IBM and International Data Corporation.
Speakers include the Research Director of IDC’s Cognitive Systems and Content Analytics as well as one of the “Most Powerful Data Scientist” designated by Forbes Magazine.
Join us on July 20th at 6:15pm EDT at the IBM Innovation Center in Cambridge, MAREGISTER FOR THE FREE EVENT
I am honored to announce that AI Global Magazine has recognized the vision and innovation we have demonstrated over the last year to develop our Coalesce product. Coalesce is a personalized research assistant that combines machine learning with human expertise to provide relevant information to business users about their prospects, customers and investments.
The "IT CEO of the Year" award category recognizes leaders and visionaries who have developed transformative technology to change the way companies do business. We are grateful to receive this recognition and I count myself fortunate to be on this exciting path toward a bright future.Please click here to view the magazine's award publication
We are pleased to announce our second event in the series "Real Life Examples of Cognitive Computing". We are fortunate to have two visionaries who use big data and machine learning to improve the designs for Cities of the Future.
Speakers include the Head of Data Analytics for the City of Boston and a lead researcher for the Senseable City Lab at MIT.
Join us on February 25th at 6:00 pm EDT at the IBM Innovation Center in Cambridge, MA to learn more about this fascinating view into technology of the future.REGISTER FOR THE FREE EVENT
Last month I was invited to appear in an IBM Watson TV commercial which was aired during the US Open on major cable networks and websites. What a fun experience! Flying out to LA and living the life of an actor for the weekend. I've gained a whole new respect for what it takes to make a movie - my "6 Seconds of Fame" took almost 2 hours to record. Many thanks to IBM, Ogilvy & Mather and Ridley Scott Associates for a superbly professional experience.
Click here if you missed the Commercial on CNN, ESPN or www.USOpen.org: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTBn7xemU3o
Greg Woolf, CEO of Coalesce Inc., has been appointed moderator of the Cognitive Computing Group of Boston. Our next meetup will begin a series demonstrating how Cognitive Computing is helping people today, starting with "Real Life Examples of Cognitive in Health Care".
Join us on September 8th at 6:00 pm EDT at the IBM Innovation Center in Cambridge, MA to learn more about this fascinating technology.REGISTER FOR THE EVENT
Coalesce CEO, Greg Woolf, was invited to present at the InnoTribe Challenge in June 2015. Launched by SWIFT, the Challenge travels around the world with four regional showcases in the Europe, Africa, Asia and America to bridge the gap between the financial services industry and today's brightest startups and innovators.HTTP://INNOTRIBE.COM/ABOUT/
Celent is a research and consulting firm focused on the application of information technology in the global financial services industry. One of their senior analysts of disruptive technology in the investment industry, discusses Vantage Software’s latest offering for the Private Equity industry.CLICK HERE TO READ THR FULL ARTICLE
Last week I was invited to attend the World of Watson conference hosted by IBM in NYC. During the event, I was honored to have a one-on-one conversation with Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM. Ginni impressed me with her approachability, graciousness and "down-to-earth" manner. She listened with genuine interest when I reiterated her bold prediction from earlier that day: "In the future, every decision mankind makes is going to be informed by a cognitive system … and our lives in this word will be better for it."
Through her vision and confidence in the face of skepticism, Ginni has created an environment to turn this idea into reality which clearly demonstrates how she has ascended to the highest levels of global business. She thanked me for participating in a community of innovators who are leading the way for this new technology paradigm and inquired what more IBM Watson can do to support us. We discussed the functionality of Coalesce, our product for the financial services domain, and she had some interesting suggestions for alternate market verticals where we could expand the product potential.
Only recently has the processing power become available, through cloud-based computing, to enable intelligent software to be used in every-day applications. I thanked Ginni for her support and for having the vision to leverage IBM’s deep resources to create an environment for firms like us to innovate. Ginni proved to me that regardless of the size of her organization, her interest lies with innovation and desire to harness technology for a “better future” for all. We shook hands and I walked away inspired and validated by one of the world’s foremost business leaders.
IBM invited us to participate in the opening video of the World of Watson conference:Day 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsZjo4gNCPM Day 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5QJs6byoaI
International Finance Magazine (IFM) features a 4-page article on how Vantage Software’s Coalesce product offers intelligent software to the financial services industry in partnership with IBM Watson. The story cites similar work with world-class organizations like Citi, Development Bank of Singapore, Standard Bank of South Africa, Royal Bank of Canada, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group and USAA.CLICK HERE TO READ THR FULL ARTICLE
Since the launch of Coalesce™ in January, we’ve had a number of discussions with investment professionals about their biggest challenge in finding and executing good deals. They all say the same thing... "finding what we don’t know... from too much information."
At any given moment, a private investment firm is evaluating hundreds or thousands of prospective deals in various stages of their investment life-cycle. Keeping up-to-date with changes at prospective deals is a herculean task … even for an army of investment analysts. Says one partner, "It's the unknown content that impacts our deal flow for both good and bad. Whoever gets the best information wins. It's not just about hiring the best MBAs - we need more sleuths to identify the signals of promising opportunities."
And when they find them, due diligence requires even more research, before and after investment. Investment teams maintain that companies are quick to tell them the good stuff but their challenge is to identify the bad stuff in a timely manner by verifying the facts and finding out "what we don't know that we don't know." Says a top-tier venture client, "the worst thing is to be blindsided by our investors who find out something bad about a company before we do."
The problem is that current information about companies doesn't reside in easily accessible databases. Most information is available as raw unstructured text, including industry news and company narratives. Typical search engines like Google and Bing deliver information too overwhelming and irrelevant to be useful.
As we foray into the 'brave new world' of digital information, investment firms require a new breed of tools to combine, digest and analyze the content for meaningful interpretation to find and execute the best deals.
Intelligent research – discovering “what you don’t know”
We’re drowning in data. A staggering amount of content being added to the web every minute, but data doesn’t have to be your enemy. Using the right tools you can turn data into your friend – and establish a competitive advantage to boot. (see http://www.domo.com/blog/2014/04/data-never-sleeps-2-0/)
Every day deal teams scour publically available content, industry subscriptions and their own proprietary knowledge bases to identify potential deals. Investment firms have to be extremely creative in identifying data trends to highlight opportunities, such as new hires or facility expansions, which may indicate company growth. And when they find them, the diligence process requires even more research of company profiles, management biographies, competitive landscapes and intellectual property advantages or risks.
We hear from investment teams that prospective portfolio companies are is quick to tell them the “good stuff,” but their challenge is to identify the “bad stuff” in a timely manner, either through verifying the facts presented or by finding out “we don’t know what we don’t know.” And that’s not just for new opportunities; it applies even more so to existing investments when the investment firm has already committed its funds. Says a top-tier venture client, “The worst thing we can do is be blindsided by our investors who find out something bad about a portfolio company before we do.” With the exponential increase in digital content, merely adding people won’t scale fast enough to address the problem. We need better technology to combat more data.
So how to get ahead of the curve? Either finding that diamond in the rough before someone else does, or making sure to “leave no stone unturned” during due diligence or portfolio monitoring? The problem is that most of the important narrative about companies doesn’t reside in easily accessible databases with convenient rankings and quantitative scores for risks and opportunities. Most content about companies is in the form of raw, unstructured text via industry news, company write-ups, blogs and various subscription databases which requires a new breed of qualitative tools to combine, digest and analyze the content for meaningful interpretation.
Even accessing a firm’s internal proprietary knowledge is a challenge. Our clients tell us they have hundreds of gigabytes of ‘know-how’ locked in network documents from years of investment research, and no way of extracting the valuable info they contain.
Over the last year Vantage developed “Coalesce™”, a tool to turn mountains of data to your advantage. Using the latest in intelligent software and machine learning through a strategic partnership with IBM Watson, Coalesce scours through and analyzes millions of pages of text, ensuring that investment managers have the right info at the right time to make sophisticated decisions.
Finding out “what you don’t know” about a deal can make the difference between poor returns and great returns, the lifeblood of a successful investment firm.Click here to view the article at Private Funds Management website
In January Vantage's CEO participated in a panel discussion on Cybersecurity at the Private Equity International CFO/COO Forum held at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. He was joined by Glenn Siriano, Principal in the Information Technology Advisory Services Practice of KPMG.
Criminals are taking advantage of black market tools to create sophisticated scripts that target any organization. Look no further than Sony Pictures, whose cyber-attack allegedly at the hands of North Korea’s government has propelled the looming threat to the forefront of the collective consciousness. Target, Home Depot and more recently Anthem Insurance were other seemingly ironclad corporations that proved vulnerable to cyber-attacks recently.
So, how does a business protect its hard-earned assets from attacks, and maintain clients’ trust? There are some common sense safeguards which lower your risk of being hacked as follows:
1. Investor portals: Don’t post links to your investor portal on your public website, you are leading criminals to your precious client information.
2. Institute rules for safeguarding information: Make encrypted passwords and due diligence around third-party vendors a requirement. Make sure your investor portal login’s have two-stage authentication, a simple username and password is too easy to compromise these days.
3. Email is not secure: Email passes through multiple servers on the path from directing from sender to recipient. At any stage along the way, hackers can introduce monitoring software to inspect email packets for interesting content.
4. Test employees for common sense: Some companies have been known to leave a flash drive in a lobby or a bathroom for curious employees to pick up and plug it into their computer without considering the risk.
5. Beware of public Wi-Fi: Bring a loaner phone and computer when traveling to risky regions such as China. Wi-Fi in hotels and other public places is rarely secure, don’t do online banking from a hotel.
6. Invest in cyber security insurance and a vulnerability study: Ask for references and don't use the same assessor every year.
7. Craft a crisis communication plan: Amid President Barack Obama’s cyber security legislation package is the Personal Data Notification and Protection Act, which requires companies to inform their customers of a data breach within 30 days.
The threat is real when it comes to cybersecurity. One of the CFO’s in the audience recalled how a partner in Europe was working on an unsecured laptop, rendering him a victim to high-tech criminals who accessed his password and stole $400k from a fund. There is no guarantee that hackers won’t gain illegal access to your environment. However, implementing some common sense precautions can make you less attractive than the next target, encouraging hackers to focus on other alternatives.
Coalesce™ is featured in keynote address at IBM PartnerWorld by Stephen Gold, Chief Marketing Officer and Vice President of IBM Watson
“Our partner Vantage is combining its financial know-how and private equity knowledge with Watson to create Coalesce, a tool designed to help financial analysts to make faster, more accurate, evidenced based decisions. Coalesce can analyze literally tens of millions of pages of financial documents, instantly exploring available market intelligence, risk profiles and financial performance data to provide better insights to experts making investment decisions.”See full presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtEVyLHCf98
New Coalesce™ App Leverages Watson for the Financial Services Industry
Vantage Software has combined its private equity know-how with state-of-the-art cognitive computing capabilities from IBM Watson to create Coalesce, a software tool designed to help investment managers make faster, more accurate decisions. Coalesce analyzes and evaluates thousands of pages of information, instantly searching through market intelligence, risk profile and financial performance data to provide intelligent support for investment decisions.
Accessing the right information to make informed decisions has become a time-consuming burden for businesses. Workers in every domain are overwhelmed by the exponential growth of digital content that calls for a new generation of data intelligence tools to sift through mountains of information.
Coalesce™ learns from interactions with investment managers, using knowledge of how they preform research to deliver them with a broader picture of the market landscape and financial implications when conducting their due diligence on investments - a process which typically involves months of analyzing thousands of pages about a company’s profile, risk factors, management and competitive landscape.
With Coalesce™, Vantage has developed a solution that helps organizations better leverage their employees’ institutional knowledge, combined with public and proprietary sources, to generate insights that can lead to better investment decisions.
Vantage unveiled its Coalesce™ product at the Private Equity International CFO and COO Forum in New York City this month. “We are thrilled to partner with IBM Watson to deliver our vision of intelligent computing for the investment sector. The power of Watson’s cognitive capabilities heralds a new era of technology that will transform how investment research is conducted,” said Greg Woolf, founder and CEO of Vantage Software.
IBM Watson is a cognitive computing system that uses natural language processing, machine learning and advanced analytics to process information in a manner that is similar to the way people think. Watson answers complex questions posed in everyday language, while continually learning through interactions with users.
"To meet market and client expectations, the financial service industry is reinventing itself and looking for ways to provide evidence-based actionable insights, in real-time, delivering bottom line performance while mitigating risks,” said Stephen Gold, vice president, IBM Watson Group. “Vantage is well positioned to help enhance, scale and accelerate the expertise of financial professionals by allowing them to gain a new level of insight into market data, systematically learn with each interaction and outcome, and provide an overall improved experience."
“With the introduction of Coalesce™, Vantage Software extends its well-rounded suite of investment research products that enable investment managers to make superior investments with lower risk and higher returns to their investors. “Coalesce is the qualitative, natural language counterpart to Vantage Insight™, our leading tool for quantitative investment performance analysis,” says Woolf.
IBM Watson represents a new era of computing in which third party apps and systems will interact with human users more naturally, analyze volumes of data, understand complex questions posed in natural language, and propose evidenced-based answers that help improve decision making.
Fueled by innovation from a mission to transform industries and professions, Watson is uniquely positioned at the forefront of the new era of computing, evidenced by an unmatched demonstration of what cognitive systems can bring to transform decision-making. IBM is delivering a range of cloud-based products and services to clients in industries such as banking, healthcare, insurance, retail and education.
IBM is investing $1 billion into the Watson Group, focusing on development and research and bringing cloud-delivered cognitive applications and services to market. This includes $100 million available for venture investments to support IBM’s ecosystem of start-ups and businesses building cognitive apps made with Watson.
For more information on IBM Watson, visit: www.ibmwatson.com
Check out the IBM Watson press kit at: http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/presskit/27297.wss
Vantage Software expands into the artificial intelligent market with solutions for intelligent research and analysis. Using state-of-the-art technology, Vantage’s new products help users instantly mine thousands of pages of information for better and faster decision-making.
Access to the right information at the right time for making informed decisions has become a critical problem. Researchers in every domain are overwhelmed by the exponential growth of digital content, desperately seeking a new generation of data intelligence tools to sift through mountains of information. Vantage has assembled a team of experts in machine learning and cognitive computing to develop state-of-the art technology that assists users by automating their research patterns and summarizing content accordingly.
“Recent improvements in artificial intelligence and statistical natural language processing has made this technology accessible to innovative developers like Vantage Software to include in their products.” says Mark Watson, author of sixteen books on artificial intelligence and various programming languages and consultant to Google, CompassLabs, Disney and other leading technology companies. “The Vantage team has expressed a product vision that allows me to bring my natural language processing experience to bear by creating this new generation of search and intelligent document storage solutions.”
Vantage Software’s initial focus is on investment research, helping firms conduct due diligence on investments, a process which typically involves months analyzing thousands of pages about a company’s profile, risk factors, management and competitive landscape. The new intelligent computing capabilities complements Vantage’s existing quantitative analytical tools, including Vantage Insight™, adopted by global investment firms that manage more than a trillion dollars.
“Our new intelligent research tools add a qualitative dimension to investment research, helping investment firms identify and analyze opportunities that result in higher returns and lower risks,” says Greg Woolf, founder and CEO of Vantage Software. “We are actively exploring both content and technology partners to enhance our solution to the overwhelming amount of information facing users today.”
The future role of technology in private equity marked another takeaway from the
PESS conference that drew over 100 visitors to New York City’s Convene Center in
Thousands of firms are currently in the market for new capital, attempting to convince investors how they will generate top quartile returns in this competitive environment. Providing investment teams with technology advantages not only aids the front office, but heightens the appeal to investors seeking out GPs with superior returns or “alpha.”
Most investment professionals are hard-charging bright young grads in their 20s and early 30s from top business schools who grew up using technology as a second nature. On-demand, real-time access to info is as natural as breathing for them - and to attract, retain and utilize their talent, firms need to provide a seamless technical environment to compete. Consider the critical message from Bain & Company’s Global Private Equity 2014 report, which advises that alpha-generating skills are “more important than ever to achieve superior PE returns.” Market forces are dictating the imperative role of technology, particularly tools that drive superior investment research. “The more complex and volatile macro environment will require alpha skills to read the more perilous conditions and uncover the hidden pockets of opportunities turbulence creates,” the report notes.
Data transportability translates to competitive advantage, higher returns, lower costs and more money raised from investors. Panelists at the conference agreed that investing in front-office technology propels a PE firm beyond its peers. For instance, real-time access to portfolio and pipeline data via an iPad in Monday investment committee meetings versus antiquated static PDF snapshots, or worse, actual paper!
Current statistics, industry data comparisons and information about portfolio companies, from external sources as well as the back office, need to be highly available to desktops and mobile devices. With the exponential growth in digital data, the current generation of investment professionals will differentiate themselves with their ability to be faster in processing, synthesizing and correlating information.
While PE technology is behind some other industries which are more progressive, like hedge funds and mutual funds, PE firms are looking at technology as a way to achieve competitive advantage and ensure their performance ranks in the top quartile.