Financial analysts spend their days combing through data points to identify patterns and spot trends. But much of the data they rely on is traditional, and the way they share it with their colleagues — through excel files — isn’t always effective. Thinknum, a New York-based firm that aims to address both of these problems, today raised $11.6 million to expand its business.

The startup said Green Visor Capital, one of the original investors in its $1 million seed round in 2014, participated in the series A, though Thinknum declined to disclose other participants. The five-year-old firm said it has been profitable since 2016.

Thinknum cofounder and president Justin Zhen told VentureBeat by email that the firm will invest the fresh capital in developing its product and enhancing its infrastructure. It will also attempt to work with more institutions to “help educate the market on the power and uses of alternative data,” he said.

“Alternative data” comprises a range of public information that can be gleaned from the web — such as product comparisons, company ratings on jobs sites, and data scoured from corporate and regulatory filings. For instance, Thinknum scanned Apple’s recruitment posts last year to report that the iPhone maker had become more aggressive in hiring engineers to develop its Siri assistant.

Thinknum says it captures digital footprints of over 400,000 companies. That’s an impressive feat for a team of just 20 people. Equally impressive are the companies Thinknum has been able to land as customers. Zhen told us that his firm works with eight of the top 10 investment banks and “hundreds of investment firms and major corporations.”

Thinknum provides a SaaS-based web platform with an easy-to-use interface that packs a lot of visuals. This ease is crucial for the company as it wants the service to reach beyond data scientists, engineers, and programmers. “Using our platform, clients have access to the raw data, as well as specific tools that help them answer important business questions,” Zhen explained.

According to a report by Greenwich Associates, 50 percent of institutional investors planned to increase their usage of alternative data in the coming year. There are currently more than 4 billion webpages and 1.2 million terabytes of data available on the web, numbers that are growing rapidly. “There is a mountain of information that can be valuable to investors,” Greenwich Associates said in the report.

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