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Bloomberg challenger Sentieo lands $19 million funding round



Alap Shah
Alap Shah, the co-founder and CEO of Sentieo, has
landed a fresh $19 million round of funding.


  • Sentieo, a web and mobile-app based financial research and
    data platform, announced a $19 million round of funding Tuesday.
  • The funding round — more than
    triple the amount they raised in March
     — comes after
    six months of steady growth.
  • Sentieo is one of a number of companies trying to dislodge
    the stranglehold Bloomberg has on the $28 billion financial data
  • The company’s service is a sort of mash-up of an AI-powered
    search engine, Evernote, financial document repository, and
    traditional equity research data.

Another challenger is gearing up to make a run at Bloomberg, the
dominant player in the $28 billion financial data market. 

Sentieo — a web and mobile-app based platform that’s a sort of
mash-up of an AI-powered search engine, Evernote, financial
document repository, and traditional equity research data — 
has uncorked a fresh $19 million round of funding, the company
announced Tuesday. That’s more than
triple the amount it raised in March
, and it brings their
total funding to $30 million. 

The funding, a Series A round, was led by Centana Growth
Partners. Sentieo declined to specify the valuation the funding
was raised at.

Sentieo, founded nearly three years ago by brothers Alap and
Naman Shah, is among a rash of companies looking to dislodge the
stranglehold Bloomberg has on providing data to bankers, traders,
investors, and money managers. 

A single
Bloomberg terminal costs $24,000 a year
, and the company
controls around a third of the $28 billion global information
market for financial markets data, analysis and news, according
to estimates from Burton-Taylor International Consulting, a TP
ICAP company. Around two-thirds of its estimated $9 billion in
annual revenues comes from its terminals.

Sentieo is newer to the competition than some Bloomberg
challengers — such as financial
chat company Symphony
, which has racked up some $300 million
in funding form the likes of Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan — but the
firm is quickly gathering some steam. It now has over 700
clients, up from 450 in March (a 55% increase) and more than
triple what it had 18 months ago, the company said. 

include some of the world’s top hedge funds
, investments
banks, Fortune 500 corporations, and asset managers. 

“I do feel like a lot of this is the market and the stars
aligning with our product and our vision around the fact that
investing is becoming more and more data intensive,” co-founder
and CEO Alap Shah told Business Insider. “And that’s been the
case for a very long time, but I think over the last 18 months
we’ve really seen another step change in how much more data is
out there and how much more data is required to be

Shah said revenues have grown significantly in the past six month
as the firm invested in product, engineering, and sales, but he
declined to share revenue figures or the prices they charge
customers for the service. Back in 2016, the service
cost between $500 and $1,000 a month,
 but prices have
gone up since then, a spokesman said. 

So how does Sentieo work, and how’s it different from other
financial data platforms?

Before Sentieo was a company, it started as a tool that Shah, a
former hedge-fund analyst at Viking and Citadel, and some of his
friends used to streamline their own investment processes amid an
ever-growing list of data sources to keep track off. 

In part, Sentieo serves as a souped-up financial document search
engine. The company uses machine learning and natural language
processing to upload and process millions of regulatory
documents, research, and other financial data sources — including
offerings from the
burgeoning alternative data world
— and make it all

How often and in what context does
IBM mention the word “acquisition”
in filings, presentations,
or earnings transcripts in the year prior to its $34 billion
buyout of software company Red Hat? That’s accessible almost
instantaneously through Sentieo’s platform. How do analysts
feel about the transaction? That type of sentiment
analysis is available, too. 

(Note: Sentieo has provided some journalists, myself
included, with free access to a no-frills version of the app to
experience and test out some of the features.)

Sentieo screen shot

A screen shot of the
Sentieo platform in action.


Additionally, there are the more traditional equity-data features
you’d find from Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters, or CapIQ —
fundamentals, ratios, stock charts, etc. 

Sentieo has also built out its research management capabilities,
so after finding and extracting interesting data or documents,
they can be easily annotated, shared, and discussed with

Tying all of these functions together into a coherent experience
has been a primary focus of the firm this year, and Shah credits
their progress on this front for helping boost their customer
base and client engagement. 

The end goal is to build out the bells and whistles so that
customers can do almost anything their job requires within the
Sentieo ecosystem. 

The company, which has a 160 employees and counting, is still a
long way from accomplishing that ambitious vision  — and a
long way from toppling Bloomberg and other top players in the
financial data arena. But the new infusion of capital will go
toward building out and integrating more tools to get closer to
that goal and keep customer growth humming along. 

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