When math and finance meet
By Sharmila Ganapathy February 7, 2018
- Currently raising Series-A funding to expand globally
- Aims to expand to Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong
ASK Neuroprofiler chief technology officer Julien Revelle (pic, above) how he met his co-founder and chief executive officer Tiphaine Saltini and he quite candidly replies that they met at a marathon in France.
“So Tiphaine had the idea in this [financial] space and I was specialising in statistics when I was doing statistics during the weekends. I developed the algorithm and how we could improve it and apply it to some recommendation of financial products,” he tells Digital News Asia during a recent phone interview.
“Basically, I started coding during weekends while I was working and became more passionate about the topic. And then when we had some traction: it was KPMG who was interested in the solution. Then we started working full time on this project back in 2016,” he recalls of Neuroprofiler’s early days.
Revelle is a data scientist by profession (he graduated from the French National School of Statistics and Cambridge University in mathematics) and used to be a quantitative analyst for banks and family offices. Saltini meanwhile, is an expert in behavioural finance who holds a PhD in this field and graduated from HEC, in Paris.
The inspiration behind the business
We asked Revelle what inspired him to become an entrepreneur and he says it is about creating something new. “What we do is based on the latest advances in behavioural finance and machine learning. We have been able to develop unique recommendation tools based on a scientific assessment of someone's investor profile. I think it would have been much harder to build this being in a large institution.”
Neuroprofiler’s key product is a risk-profiling game for investors, or the end users of banks, for instance. “Basically, the bank or financial advisor or robo advisor buys the solution and then the client of the bank takes the test for free.
“And it works as a stats platform, so you as a banker would collect and create an account on the platform and you would buy, say 100 tests and then you can distribute that to clients with a unique web base. It works on any browser and on mobile devices and computers as well,” Revelle explains.
The idea for the business stemmed from the European regulation MIFID II, which makes it mandatory for banks to have a clear view of the investor profile of their clients. Banks have been doing this using paper questionnaires, which are usually not compliant, not scientific and not pleasant to take. This created the perfect opportunity for their business, Revelle says, adding that the regulations took effect in Europe in early January this year.
According to Revelle, their game took around eight months to develop. “But then we have been improving the test since, and we build a recommendation tool on top that, so everything else took us about two years.”
Next page: Staying the course