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.
|Yodlee (Envestnet): 2013-2017 Klover: 2020 Facteus: 2019 – Current Above.us: 2021||Majestic Research (M Science): 2008-2013 1010Data: 2014 – 2015 Guidepoint: 2016 – 2017 Eagle Alpha: 2016 – 2021||Point72: 2012-2013 B.A.M: 2015-2016 Lone Pine: 2016 Sequoia Capital: 2016||NYU: 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
• 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:
https://doi.org/10.3905/jfds.2021.1.073 – 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 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)
Videos and presentations
More publications, media and conferences
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
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
Gene Ekster : NYU Courant : AltDG