Cowen’s Kyber Alt Data Unit Gets Boost From New Capital and New Hires

By Sanford Bragg November 18, 2020

After completing a $10 million capital raise, Cowen’s Kyber Data Science subsidiary hired five senior staff to run the newly invigorated unit.  The firm is betting heavily on a newly added healthcare transactions database for its future growth.

Kyber closed a $10 million Series A financing round in August 2020, led by Cowen and Ian McKinnon, a former managing partner of Ziff Brothers Investments. The financing has funded a series of new hires, including a new CEO and heads of data science, sales, product and marketing.  

Reflecting Kyber’s increasing focus on the healthcare sector, the new hires have life sciences backgrounds.  Both the new CEO and the head of product were previously with Decision Resources Group, a prominent health care data analytics and market research provider.  The new head of sales and the head of data science were recruited from Managed Markets Insight and Technology (MMIT), which provides market data to the life sciences industry.  The head of marketing comes from SVB Leerink, a boutique investment bank specializing in the healthcare sector.

Kyber’s centerpiece is a new health care claims and electronic medical records database.  The dataset includes transactions relating to drug, medical device, diagnostics, and facilities companies. Kyber is promoting its cleansing, tagging (product, provider, disease, ticker), and enhancements (~40 external data sources, including formulary data) as differentiators for the product.

Kyber’s other offerings are cannabis point of sale data licensed from Headset in 2018 and Cowen’s two monthly consumer survey products which track internet usage and general consumer trends based on a panel of 2,500 U.S. consumers.

Kyber launched in June 2018, the first investment bank unit to proactively market alternative data as a standalone subscription service.  UBS subsequently repositioned its massive Evidence Lab unit as an offering distinct from its research group.  At launch, Kyber offered two initial datasets: 1) weekly geospatial data measuring crude oil inventories in Cushing Oklahoma and 2) six years of monthly data from Cowen’s two proprietary consumer surveys.

Our Take

Kyber’s relaunch benefits from its strong healthcare focus, which is timely given investor attention focused on Covid-19.  Many of the alternative data vendors offering transaction data, such as 1010data, Earnest Research, 7Park Data and Consumer Edge, are less centered on the healthcare sector than on retail sectors.  In contrast, expert network Guidepoint has been enhancing its healthcare-oriented alternative data, adding medical purchasing data from 5,000 home care and durable medical equipment pharmacies and 400 aesthetics practices and MedSpas.

Decision Resources Group Claims and Electronic Medical Records Data

Given that Kyber’s new CEO Jeff Forringer previously oversaw Decision Resources Group’s claims and electronic medical records data, it would not be surprising if DRG were a primary source for Kyber’s new healthcare data.  DRG says it tracks over 12 billion healthcare claims and its EMR data covers 90 million US patients.  DRG uses the data to serve its core market of life sciences companies, so Kyber’s value-added is to repurpose the data for investment insights.       

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