Dr. Ashby Monk, Executive Director of the Stanford Global Project Centre, and Dane Rock, a Postdoctoral Scholar based at the Centre, are investing into KiteEdge.
Ashby and Dane will be supporting KiteEdge with introductions to large asset owners as well as Stanford’s Natural Language Processing Group (which is working on algorithms that allow computers to process and understand human languages). KiteEdge will be working with members of the Centre on a series of joint papers, and Dane will join the company’s Advisory Board.
Dane shared the following testimonial on the motivations behind his investment:
‘Three features drew my attention to KiteEdge: its differentiated search technology, the alignment of the team’s skillsets with its mission, and the glaring gap in the (large) market that it could fill. Over my decade of involvement within the financial services space (as both practitioner and researcher), I’ve continually lamented the lack of truly fit-for-purpose tools for intra-organizational search and knowledge management.
Colleagues and I have long spoken about features we’d like to see in technologies that could address that need: KiteEdge’s solution fits those specifications almost exactly. The team also appear ideally suited to help that solution realize its potential. They all have deep experience in the space, a large array of longstanding, direct relationships with prospective clients, and the highest degree of professionalism. Their seed ontology is what will make their search technology a ‘killer app’ (so to speak), and I expect it to provide a defensible source of identifiable value for clients that cannot be replicated by competitors. To me, KiteEdge would be an attractive investment opportunity even without the tailwind of MiFID II, but the market disruption that regulatory step-change has caused should be rocket fuel for uptake of KiteEdge’s Search-as-a-Service capability.
Our due diligence efforts gave us even further comfort; specifically:
- Their plan for growing the development team seems both prudent and efficient;
- The fact that most of the core team have worked together previously gives us confidence that they will have solid foundations for a successful organizational culture; and
- Their client acquisition/growth strategy is ambitious but achievable.
What also stood out in my mind was KiteEdge’s willingness to partner with researchers, as well as foster open dialogue within the investor community. My impression is that this will not only help give them ongoing feedback and inspiration to make their solution better: it will bring to light their thought leadership in the space and give them significant early traction on getting interest from the whole industry. I invested because this is a sound opportunity in even a conservative case, and has substantial upside potential.’