Alternative Data Firms Launch Alternative Data Academy


Today, alternative data providers Thinknum, Similarweb and Eagle Alpha, among others announced the launch of Alternative Data Academy, an organization geared to streamlining access to alt data research and democratizing access to industry knowledge.

Launch of Alternative Data Academy

Alternative data firm Thinknum is joining forces with Similarweb, Eagle Alpha, Alternative Data Group, and CueMacro to build the Alternative Data Academy – a suite of online courses, workshops, webinars, and industry research to promote alternative data best practices and pioneering use cases for investment professionals, data scientists, business analysts and others.

Marta Lopata, Chief Growth Officer at Thinknum Alternative Data and Co-Founder of Alternative Data Academy commented on the strategic rationale for the new organization, “As alternative data is adopted across an increasing number of sectors in the financial services industry, we see a growing need for a learning bridge between data providers, investment & data professionals.”

The academy provides two types of educational offerings, including corporate workshops for corporate teams focused on a specific data category or vertical, and 20 minute e-learning modules which serve as a primer for a specific problem area. The e-learning programs come with certifications for learners issued upon completion.

The Alternative Data Academy initiative was started by Thinknum, who recruited the other founding partners.  Currently, the Alternative Data Academy lists an initial suite of eight webinars on various topics of interest to alternative data users, as well as twenty-eight different research reports on various aspects of alt data.  Much of this initial content was written or produced by Thinknum.  Going forward, the curricula for Alternative Data Academy will be updated and extended annually by the board of faculty experts including investment professionals, data providers and academia.

The first course offered by the Alternative Data Academy was developed in collaboration with Gene Ekster – Alternative Data Group CEO and NYU Adjunct Professor: Alternative Data Fundamentals for Investment Professionals

Among certifications currently available on the platform is also Use Cases of Alternative Data for Investors & Risk Managers, developed by Alexander Denev & Saaed Amen – co-authors of The Book of Alternative Data.

Thinknum’s partnership with other well-known alternative data industry providers to launch this new initiative has created a true industry led organization which can offer potential users extensive training and relevant research about key issues industry professionals run into. The Academy is currently recruiting faculty partners & data providers to supply objective, up-to-date alternative data industry research and training. The Academy intends to partner with 20 key data providers this year.

“This strategic collaboration with Thinknum strengthens our commitment to the investment community to provide education around the importance of digital alternative data and how to incorporate it, particularly web traffic data, into the investment process,” explained Ed Lavery, Director of Investor Intelligence at Similarweb.

“In the 9+ years Eagle Alpha has been in business we have always placed an emphasis on educating both the vendor and consumer side of the alternative data ecosystem. Through our white papers, workshops and advisory services we have become a trusted authority on alternative data.  We are delighted to now partner with Thinknum and to be part of this exciting new initiative to support organizations and individuals seeking to increase their knowledge of this exciting growth area,” said Ronan Crosson, Director, Data Strategy & Analytics at Eagle Alpha.

Our Take

The launch of the Alternative Data Academy is an interesting move by Thinknum and a few of its alternative data colleagues.  Clearly, this initiative is a move by these firms to broaden the understanding, interest and use of alternative data both inside the financial services industry, and throughout the greater corporate market.

In our view, the real win for the alternative data industry, including the firms that have launched Alternative Data Academy, will be attracting corporate users looking to leverage external data to garner unique insights, improve financial forecasting, enhance decision making, and gather better business and competitive intelligence.  The big question is whether the Alternative Data Academy can build interest in alternative data within the corporate market through the corporate workshops they are hoping to offer.  We suspect this will take an aggressive marketing effort to pull off.  However, if they can, then the Alternative Data Academy just might be a successful demand generator for the alt data industry.


About Author

Mike Mayhew is one of the leading experts on the investment research industry. In addition to founding Integrity Research, Mike is on the board of directors of Investorside Research Association, the non-profit trade association for the independent research industry, and a frequent speaker on research industry trends and developments. Mike has over thirty years of research industry experience. Email:

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