Web Data Firm Quiver Quantitative Launches Patent Database

By Sanford Bragg June 4, 2021

Retail-oriented alternative data provider Quiver Quantitative released a new dataset of US patent data along with two metrics for measuring a company’s technological standing.  The firm has been adding datasets on a regular basis as it seeks to attract institutional investors in addition to retail users.

Quiver Quantitative added scraped data on USPTO patent grants mapped to public companies.  More significantly, it also added two metrics based on the data: Tech Drift and Tech Momentum, which quantify different elements of a company’s patent history into a single number.  Both are based on the technology classifications used by the US patent office.

Tech drift quantifies the extent to which a company is changing its R&D focus. Quiver Quantitative constructs a “patent profile” for each company based on the classification codes used by the US patent office, then tracks how the profiles change over time.   

The image below shows an example, visualizing recent changes in Twitter’s patent profile.  Twitter’s “tech drift” is calculated by taking the total distance between the white and red dots across every patent class.

The second measure, tech momentum, is based on a study first published in the Journal of Financial Economics in 2019.  Tech momentum identifies publicly traded companies with similar technology profiles and calculates their recent stock market performance.  Higher tech momentum values for patent-producing companies indicate strong performance by a companies’ technological peers in the previous quarter.    

The following chart shows companies with the highest and lowest tech momentum values in May 2021.  Companies with a similar tech focus typically share similar Tech Momentum ratios. For example, 3D printing specialists Desktop Metal (DM), and Xone (XONE) are both in the lower-tech momentum category, reflecting poor returns in the 3D printing segment since its mid-February peak. In contrast, electronic equipment makers specializing in LIDAR technology, Luminar (LAZR), and Velodyne (VLDR) carry positive tech momentum ratios.

Quiver Quantitative is a web data provider founded last year by two college students.  The firm was set up to make alternative data accessible to individual investors, but has also generated interest from institutional investors attracted to Quiver Quantitative by low fees and differentiated datasets.

One of the most popular datasets is Quiver’s tracking of WallStreetBets mentions, which is available by ticker and by topic such as cannabis, electric vehicles, etc. The company also offers differentiated datasets such as stocks traded by Senators and House representatives.  For technology stocks, Quiver Quantitative tracks mentions and sentiment on social news website Hacker News.  The site also monitors tech stock mentions on developer website Stack Overflow.  The firm offers 21 datasets currently.

Access to the website’s dashboard is free with registration.  Quiver Quantitative’s API is $75 per month for individuals and pricing is ‘case by case’ for institutions. 

Quiver Quantitative received seed funding from venture capital and angel investors in December 2020.  It currently has four full-time employees and is recruiting for a full-stack developer. 

Our Take

Quiver Quantitative illustrates the low barriers to entry for web-scraped data, which is the most popular form of alternative data.  According to analysis by data scouting firm Neudata, web datasets are generally priced 20% below the overall average price for alternative datasets. 

Fees for alternative data have been falling, and upstart providers such as Quiver Quantitative add to the pressure.  Rival web data provider Thinknum had raised its fees last year as it launched a new web traffic data offering.  However, it recently launched Thinknum Spark which offers discounted fees to small funds with less than $50 million in assets under management.  The move is part of a larger trend to expand the alternative data user base, with flexible pricing being an important component of that strategy.

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