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Ai & Quant Conference 2022 Hosted By MIT Sloan Quantitative Finance Club Speaker Profile : Gene Ekster : NYU Courant : AltDG

Gene Ekster : NYU Courant : AltDG

Gene Ekster is the founder of AltDG, an alternative data software company. He is an adjunct professor at NYU, where he teaches a course on alternative data. Previously, he helped establish alternative data practices at Point72 Asset Management (SAC), Balyasny Asset Management, Lone Pine, 1010 Data, Majestic Research, Yodlee (Envestnet), and more. Gene is a board member of IDSO (a compliance organization), Eagle Alpha, Ottoquant, and Super Signal Capital. He is recognized for his track record in developing the alternative data industry and coining the widely accepted term “alternative data” in 2014.

Gene holds a degree in Artificial Intelligence from U.C. Berkeley, an MBA from Cornell University, and is a CFA charter holder. 

Ai & Quant Conference 2022 Hosted By MIT Sloan Quantitative Finance Club

Prior employers: 

Data originators Intermediaries Funds Academic
Yodlee (Envestnet): 2013-2017 Klover: 2020 Facteus: 2019 – Current 2021Majestic Research (M Science): 2008-2013 1010Data: 2014 – 2015 Guidepoint: 2016 – 2017 Eagle Alpha: 2016 – 2021Point72: 2012-2013 B.A.M: 2015-2016 Lone Pine: 2016 Sequoia Capital: 2016NYU: 2018 – Current


• NYU – Adjunct professor. Courant Master of Science Program in Mathematics in Finance o Pitched, developed and now teach the world’s first Alternative Data class at an 

accredited university 

• Investment Data Sessions – Founder, Faculty. A professional training academy founded along with Petter Kolm, Alexander Donev, and Saeed Amen 

Publication and media highlights 

• Alternative Data in Investment Management: Usage, Challenges, and Valuation Gene Ekster and Petter N. Kolm 

The Journal of Financial Data Science Fall 2021, 3 (4) 10-32; DOI: – paywall, link to document above. Same paper  on SSRN, pre-publication.

Wikipedia article for Alternative Data — References to Gene Ekster  

1. Flanagan, Terry (2016-12-07). “‘Early Days’ For Alternative Data”. Markets Media. Markets  Media. Retrieved 21 August 2017. 

2. Belissent, Jennifer (2017-06-23). “The Age of Alt: Data Commercialization Brings Alternative  Data To Market”. Forrester Research. Forrester Research, Inc. Retrieved 20 August 2017. 3. “Searching for Alpha: Big Data. Navigating New Alternative Datasets”. Eagle Alpha. Citi  Research. Retrieved July 3, 2017. 

4. Turner, Matt. “This is the future of investing, and you probably can’t afford it”. Business Insider.  Business Insider. Retrieved 11 August 2017. 

5. Wieczner, Jen. “How Social Media Is Helping Investors Make Money”. Fortune. Fortune.  Retrieved August 4, 2017. 

6. Ekster, Gene. “Driving Investment Performance with Alternative Data”. Integrity Research.  Integrity Research. Retrieved August 2, 2017. 

7. Ekster, Gene (2015-08-19). “Alternative Data Cross-functional Teams and Workflow”. Integrity  Research. Integrity Research. Retrieved August 7, 2017 

8. Ekster, Gene (2016-05-02). “Mitigating Alternative Data Compliance Risks Associated with Web  Crawling”. Integrity Research. Integrity Research. Retrieved June 20, 2017. 

Current role, Founder of AltDG 

A search engine for mapping raw text to structured entity information 

AltDG created a software product that is an automated solution utilizing an extensive collection of entity recognizers. Gene has architected the product, created the initial algorithmic framework, and led engaged over 85+ developers, personally overseeing every step of the process to develop the AltDG mapping system. 

The current competition requires manual labor by semi-skilled analysts to create hand-tailored lists of keywords for every brand, company, and product to be mapped. That approach cannot scale. 

The company’s mammoth challenge was to create a search engine, combine over 60 ML agents to search as many data sources to return standardized company names in a structured, machine-readable format.

Example Input – “bdubs”: 

• AltDG mapping for text input: “bdubs” 

o Result: Buffalo Wild Wings (Private) 

• What is it 

o Bdubs is a slang term for Buffalo Wild Wings 

o However, “bdubs” shows up in credit card statements 

• Why others can’t map it 

o Bdubs is an unofficial term; it won’t be found in any standard company DB o Buffalo Wild Wings is a privately held firm, not listed in public company DBs • Applications 

o Credit card statements 

o Advertising 

o Competitive intelligence 

o Digital health Medical device records 

On a day-to-day basis for six years, Gene has: 

• Architected, programmed code and infrastructure 

• Put together team lead and motivated 85 employees 

• Business sense for commercially viable product – validate idea from concept to market • Overcome enormous challenges and scope of the product moving “mountains.” • Daily endurance to realize the vision of automated entity mapping 


University of California, Berkeley 

BA, Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence 

1996 – 2000 

Cornell University, Ithaca 

Johnson Graduate School of Management – MBA 

2006 – 2008 

• Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) 


Media Appendix 

Videos and presentations 

More publications, media and conferences 

Talks /  


Jun-22 AI and Data Science in Trading London 

Apr-22 Unbound Conference 

Apr-22 Crux Summit Accelerate 

Mar-22 AI and Data Science in Trading New York 


Nov-21 Thinknum Alternative Data Academy 

Nov-21 Advances in Alternative Data, NYU 

Apr-21 Eagle Alpha conference 

Mar-21 Institutional Investor – Financial Technology Forum 

Oct-20 Thinknum – Alternative Data in Investment Management by Gene Ekster 

Aug-20 NYU career fair 

Jan-20 Speaker, AllianceBernstein 

Aug-18 Technical Challenges & Solutions in Alternative Data: NYU – Courant Mathematics FinanNov-17 Lecturer, Mathematical Finance Seminar, NYU Courant Institute 

Jul-16 Keynote. Bangalore, India. Sequoia Capital sponsored event 

Jun-16 Panel speaker and organizer. NYC, Nomura 

May-16 Speaker, The New York R Conference (machine learning)  

Apr-16 Keynote. Alt. Data Demo Day, NYC 

Dec-15 Panel Speaker, NYSSA (CFA Institute), NYC 

Nov-15 Speaker, New York Open Statistical: Alternative Data in Finance: R and Quandl  Oct-14 Speaker, New York Open Statistical: Hedge Funds’ Use of Alternative, Unstructured DataAuthored Articles / Papers 

Nov-21 Coverage of the whitepaper 

Nov-20 Alternative Data in Investment Management: Usage, Challenges, and Valuation May-19 Solving the ticker/merchant mapping problem in alternative data 

May-16 Web Crawling Compliance Best Practices 

Nov-15 Whitepaper on Alternative Data 

Aug-15 Data teams 

Jul-15 Compliance 

May-15 Alternative data equity research 

May-15 In-house research 

Nov-14 “Alternative Data” term coined 

Published Media Mentions 

Mar-22 Builtin: What Is Alternative Data and Why Is It Changing Finance? 

Mar-21 Facteus partnership 

Sep-18 Business Insider: ADG Launches a New API Platform for Wrangling Alternative Data May-18 Institutional Investor: Alt. Data self-regulatory group IDSO launches 

Mar-17 The Epoch Times: Hedge funds’ use of social media 

Dec-16 Markets Media: Unstructured data in investing 

Oct-16 Fortune Magazine: SAC / Point72 Comeback 

Oct-16 WallStreetCn: Chinese Financial Media Alt. Data Coverage 

Oct-16 Business Insider: Hedge Fund Talent 

Jun-16 CNBC: How investors are using social media to make money 

Apr-16 Business Insider: Foursquare Data 

Dec-15 Fortune Magazine: How Investors Are Using Social Media to Make Money Nov-15 Business Insider: This is the future of investing 

Apr-15 The Wall Street Journal: Tools Tracks Bank Cards, Sells Data to Investors

Ai & Quant Conference 2022 Hosted By MIT Sloan Quantitative Finance Club

Gene Ekster : NYU Courant : AltDG