February 17, 2014

A new wave of financial technology startups is making data analysis easier and more accessible to users. Seeking to disrupt the old business models of traditional financial analysis platforms, these new Web-based software startups are more open, collaborative, visually intuitive and cloud-based.

"The startup community is pretty robust right now," comments Adam Honore, founder of MarketsTech LLC, a firm that provides strategic advice and guidance to technology companies entering capital markets and other industry verticals.

Today's startups are able to use Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Edge, and Google Cloud Platform, so they can control their costs. "The barrier to entry from a cost perspective is relatively non-existent," says Honore. "That's one of the fundamental changes from the past. "Now if you have a good idea, it's $400 to test it and not $400,000," he says, adding, "No one asks you to sign requisition contracts for servers." The whole premise of a startup is zero overhead," says Honore. "With cloud computing, you're completely elastic; you consumer what you need, when you need it," he says.

"Visualization is also a key component," observes Honore, adding "That is what is really different about today versus yesterday's startups," says Honore. "The Bloomberg terminal style is yesterday," all of the new startups are Internet-based. "This is consumerization," says Honore, who notes that all of the startups have slick graphics, which is a prerequisite nowadays. One example, ChartIQ is for charting financial information. "You've got to look good on an iPad."

To save on overhead, startups can also renting office space in buildings that cater to early stage companies. For example,WeWork in New York City, rents space and provides infrastructure such as Internet WiFi, conference rooms, print copiers, and phone booths to early-stage companies. "They give you everything, the kitchen, the food and the Internet," says Lee Drogen,CEO of Estimize, builder of the first crowdsourced community for earnings estimates whose offices are in the Soho WeWork location. "You can scale up in the number of rooms you need."