On its surface, the concept sounds a bit silly — can’t investors do Google News searches on their own? Or use a free news index like Bloomberg’s? Do they really need to pay another company to do it? In fact, a startup with a similar idea called Monitor 110 closed its doors recently — and, like SkyGrid, it was backed by Draper Fisher Jurvetson.
But New York-based Skygrid has a slightly different take on the problem. Yes, it’s a good place to find news articles, but more importantly it helps you see the overall tenor of the news coverage. Each story is color-coded red, green or blue to indicate whether it’s negative, positive or neutral, respectively, and SkyGrid packs a lot of articles onto the page. Thus, an investor can tell at a glance what the news is and how news sources, in general, are reacting.
For folks (like me) who aren’t serious investors, a good comparison might be movie review aggregation sites like Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, which I visit to find individual reviews, but also to get a flavor of the general response among reviewers. GigaOM’s Carleen Hawn took a close look when SkyGrid launched in February and came away impressed.
I still can’t imagine paying for this kind of service myself, but hey, I’m not the target audience. And in the few months since its launch, SkyGrid says it has signed up more than 100 paying customers, including traders, hedge fund managers, portfolio managers and research analysts.