New Research Distribution Platform Emulates Amazon


Two technology entrepreneurs have launched a “public beta” for a new distribution platform for research, information and applications, AIREX™ Market.  The online marketplace offers a la carte product from thirteen suppliers including Deutsche Bank, FactSet, Morningstar, Thomson Reuters and S&P Capital IQ.  The new product has launched with an impressive list of vendors, but now the real challenge begins.

Airex Inc. was founded in 2012 as Tinga Technologies LLC by Stephen Kuhn and Christopher Williams, experienced technology entrepreneurs.  During an interview, Stephen Kuhn said the idea for the company came to them after they considered monetizing a trading algorithm, deciding instead to develop a platform that would be agnostic to all financial ideas.

While the platform is open to a spectrum of users ranging from retail investors to corporates, the initial target market is smaller asset managers with assets under management below $1-2 billion believing that this audience is under-served by existing sales channels at investment banks and other major suppliers.

Deutsche Bank offers its equity research reports for $100 to $400 per report.  Morningstar sells reports for $50 each while Thomson Reuters sells their fundamental reports for $47.50.  Factset sells earnings transcripts for $105 each while S&P Captial IQ sells them for $35 apiece.  Nasdaq OMX is offering data on its indexes for free (data which can also be obtained free on their website).  Stephen Kuhn said the onboarding process for major suppliers has been taking over a year.  Airex plans to have over 1000 vendors on its platform by year end.

Airex offers a variety of approaches to reassure suppliers that listing product on the platform will not cannibalize existing client relationships.  Some suppliers supply a named list of clients or competitors to be blocked while others black out categories of users.  Deutsche Bank embargoes its research reports for 7 days, believing that its core clients would not find embargoed reports valuable after a week.

According to Stephen Kuhn, Airex will be focusing on attracting buyers to its platform.  It plans to purchase online advertising and is already conducting PR with its beta launch.  The company is hiring a direct sales force and asks suppliers to conduct marketing on its behalf.

A key strategy for attracting users is its AIREX Market Partner (AMP) Program™ which provides a white label, hosted, turnkey version of its platform.  Airex is hoping to convince companies to offer the white labelled platform to their customers, clients, and website traffic.  It is targeting prime brokers, custodians, investment banks, banks, retail brokerage firms, wealth management platforms, financial technology companies, corporates, consultancies, and academic institutions with the program.

Suppliers will receive 70% of product sales with Airex retaining the remaining 30%.  When private labeled, the first 10% of product sales goes to private label distributor, with suppliers and Airex splitting the remainder 70%/30%.

Our Take

It is ironic that Airex is launching as Dodilio, another research procurement platform, is shutting down.  However, Dodilio required potential buyers to post RFPs on its platform and it would then find suppliers.  The Edinburgh-based Electronic Research Interchange (ERIC) launched last fall adopted an Ebay type model where buyers can bid on research product.  In contrast, Airex aspires to be an Amazon for investment research, showcasing supplier products that buyers can browse through and select.  The technology platform is more sophisticated than Dodilio or ERIC and the vision is broader both in the content it seeks to sell and the methods it uses to attract buyers.

As Deutsche Bank’s participation suggests, even bulge banks are open to finding incremental revenues to defray costs.  For Deutsche, the proposition is relatively low risk since reports are its lowest value research product and even those will be embargoed.  The participation of vendors which also distribute research product such as Factset, Thomson Reuters and S&P Capital IQ indicates that they see Airex as additive rather than as a direct competitor.

The big question for Airex’s suppliers is whether the platform can generate sufficient sales to make participation worthwhile.  Kudos to Airex for attracting name brand anchor tenants.  Now the real challenge will be to create sufficient traffic to keep the tenants happy.


About Author

Sandy Bragg is a principal at Integrity Research Associates. He has over thirty years experience as an investment research professional. Prior to joining Integrity in 2006, he was an Executive Managing Director at Standard & Poors, managing S&P’s equity research business and fund information properties. Sandy has an MBA from New York University and BA from Williams College. Email:

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