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Thinknum's web-based financial modeling gets $1M in validation

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Image Credit: Jordan Novet/VentureBeat

Financial analysts pour hours of their time into updating spreadsheets in Excel, or they spend time sitting at pricey Bloomberg terminals. Thinknum founders Justin Zhen and Gregory Ugwi have lived through these horror stories and cooked up a web-based tool that could bring analysts into the 21st century.

Today Thinknum announced a $1 million seed round that will help it hire more engineers and build its service, which already has a whole bunch of features.

Thinknum lets analysts at investment banks and hedge funds upload their financial models for projecting how things will turn out for companies’ finances under certain circumstances. It’s easy to automatically switch a company or a model. Tracking companies in a portfolio is a snap. And hey, it’s free, so long as you’re OK with keeping models open to the public.

Of course, some analysts will want to keep models private, and Thinknum has that covered. Special workspaces let analysts save and share their models privately. That feature rolled out a few weeks ago. “That’s how we monetize,” Zhen said in an interview with VentureBeat.

Like many other startups today, Thinknum believes in tapping a public cloud to perform distributed computation. Startups like Sense, Domino, and Plotly have taken this approach for helping data scientists do their work and collaborate. Data analysts recently got a helpful tool called Mode. Meanwhile Enigma and Marinexplore have ventured into uncharted waters with web apps for working with publicly available data sets. Now there’s Thinknum for quants.

Thinknum Spreadsheet

After Zhen and Ugwi met at Princeton University, the former went to a hedge fund, and the latter to Goldman Sachs.

“We always sort of kept in touch,” he said. “We noticed traders were emailing spreadsheets back and forth and updating data manually. It was just really inefficient, so we wanted to solve that pain point.”

Pejman Mar Ventures led the round. 500 Startups, 645 Angels, Green Visor Capital, Signatures Capital also participated.

Four people now work at Thinknum, which is currently going through 500 Startups’ accelerator program.

It might take time for lots of analysts to get aboard a newfangled web-based service and step away from Bloomberg, or even a simple widget like Yahoo Finance. For small investing groups, though, Thinknum might have a shot at getting traction.

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