3 Startups to Watch — Quantiacs, Cleo and ZigZig

carpe dies irae

A millennial no doubt in need of financial advice

This week, we have a group of startups united in their mutual conviction that 20-and-younger-somethings need not leave their financial situation to the vicissitudes of an indifferent fate.

Starting from the macro and moving to the micro, today’s list takes us on a journey beginning with the plight of the genius-quant, and ending with the hoi polloi of financially unconscious 20somethings struggling to master their finances.

Quantiacs recognizes that the ability to trade commodity futures as a quant requires both software and data. By supplying free and open-source software access in conjunction with 25 years of financial strategy, young quants without funding can test their youthful innovation and ideas in the real world. After uploading their trading commodity software to Quantiacs, investors can connect with developers on a list of other code-savvy hopefuls on Quantiacs’ platform.

Quantiacs can replace hours (or sometimes days) of work projecting a test equation against macro-stock-market functions to assess volatility, surplus, and other potential commodity pitfalls, the company asserts. Once an investor decides he or she likes what they’ve seen, Quantiacs handles the transaction, so developers needn’t worry themselves with the nitty-gritty logistics. The investor gets 80% of the profits, sharing the other 20% equally between Quantiacs and the developer. In short, Quantiacs connects investors with savvy developers, creating a platform for both parties to profit.

On a final note — Quantiacs is the first marketplace for trading algorithms, it says. As such, it deems itself the “Hedge Fund of the Future.”

Cleo is an AI assistant designed to help people manage their finances. Although the Cleo Beta is currently invite only, a short demo on the website demonstrates all one need know to understand how valuable this could be.

Users can type in queries as simple as “How much have I spent at Pret this month?” or as thoughtless as “What bills do I have to pay this month?” and Cleo responds à la near-instantaneous text with clear, organized answers. This removes the need to manually check one’s bank account online or at the ATM, or compare charges and fees from service providers on different websites with maddeningly disparate operating systems and layout (think ConEd vs Venmo).

This is to say nothing of the possible integration and application of other voice-interface AIs such as Siri or Cortana, (or if Cleo could render such services obsolete.) Cleo also includes a personal financial management dashboard presumably built on the same data the AI mines.

Last but not least is ZigZig, a New-York-based personal financial management system launching in April. ZigZig uses social saving, incentives and behavioral research in order to help clients regain control of their financial lives. ZigZig will use a web application designed to make saving for one’s goals fun, social and practical.

Not only can ZigZig help those 20something semi-employed get their financial situation on track — users can gain rewards and compete with friends, removing the need for heavy subtext when meeting frienemies for early dinner at Dorsia.

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