February 08, 2013

An Internet startup has launched a web site where anyone with programming skills can code algorithms and share their code with other members of the community.

In an effort to democratize the tools of quantitative finance, the Boston-based firm suggests that Wall Street no longer has a lock on the secrets of algorithmic trading.

Emerging from beta in January, Quantopian said it has built a browser-based algorithmic trading platform where anyone "with a mind for finance" can find the tools and infrastructure to learn, create, and test trading strategies, according to its site. Traders can post their quantitative results, measure their results, show their code and allow someone to clone their algo.

The company, founded in 2011, has attracted seed funding from Spark Capital and GETCO. “My interest is not so much as from a trading perspective, but from a community perspective, “ said Andrew Parker, principal of Spark Capital, whose firm led the seed financing.

Eyeing the potential to level the playing field between top Wall Street firms and Quantopian’s founders are building a large community for quantitative traders.

“We’re trying to unlock that barriers to entry and have people gain access to the same tools and data sources that only the top people on Wall Street have,” said Parker.

In a Jan. 23 press release, the firm’s founder and CEO John ‘Fawce’ Fawcett, said: “For way too long, Wall Street has kept quantitative finance to itself by hoarding information and providing little transparency or accountability. Fawcett went to say that his firm’s goal is “to dispel that secrecy and grow the quant community by a thousand fold. We welcome talented people from around the world into our community by providing access to the data , infrastructure and mentorship necessary to participate.”

According to its estimates, approximately 10,000 people across hedge funds and prop trading firms like Renaissance Technologies and Jane Street are trading their own balance sheets.