Came in as a project. Came out as a deep-tech company. An interview with Chandini Jain.
Chandini Jain - Founder & CEO of Auquan
Came in as a project. Came out as a deep-tech company. an interview with Founder Chandini Jain
Miron BykovLondon - 28/10/2019
Today we spoke to Chandini Jain, Founder of Auquan
Auquan, Founded by Chandini Jain in 2017, is an innovative data science platform that uses the power of machine learning to find superior solutions to finance problems. It translates a problem that only people with domain-specific knowledge understand to something a broader data science community can understand.
Tell me about the day the idea was born. I was working as a trader at large proprietary firm in Chicago. The first team that I worked with was very discretionary and soon we started to make it more systematic, significantly improving our profits. That caused me to think that if other discretionary teams started using data in their decision making, their profitability will also be impacted. In my last full year as a trader, year our profits more than doubled, that’s how effective it was! Results such as these clearly showed that there was strong potential in incorporating data.
Another incident followed when I was working with a data analyst on solving a trading problem. He had no background in finance and despite all of my efforts on explaining; he never grasped the problem we were trying to solve. I tried a different strategy, simply talking about this problem mathematically. Ding. He was suddenly onto it. This was a ‘huh’ moment for me.
By now it was obvious to me that plenty of firms in finance want to use data science and data driven decision-making. BUT they cannot do this because they don’t have the inhouse resources and data science talent is scarce. Simultaneously, simply hiring data scientists doesn’t solve this problem because they don’t speak the finance language. By creating a translator, financial problems can be transformed into a pure maths/data science/ machine-learning form so that any data scientists can solve it, without a background in finance. Today this translator is known as Auquan.
What was the biggest turning point in the life of Auquan? When we joined the Techstars accelerator programme. Before joining this programme, we were still a project, the definition of our mission was still foggy and there was no clear plan on executing this idea. The programme allowed us to gain a significant amount of connections which have then helped us to change the course of the company. We came in as a project, we came out as a deep-tech company.
Three top tips for aspiring entrepreneurs:
Do your market research
Pursue an idea that you’re generally passionate about – when things are not ideal, only that passion keeps you going
Build a support system. This includes CEOs of other companies who are on the same journey
What gets you out of bed every morning? I just love what I do. Most of all I enjoy solving Maths puzzles. If there was a job that let you solve Maths puzzles every day, I would do it. I see Auquan as a puzzle that I’m constantly working on, I believe it has enough potential to create a heavy impact on the finance industry.
What did you want to be when you were little? I wanted to be a scientist, I have been interested in both Maths and Science from an early age. I remember reading about people like Newton, Edison, Euler and how their work significantly changed the way the world operates, this excites me the most.
Favourite Disney character: This changes every single time! From a recent time, I would say Simba (Lion King) as I saw it 2 days back.
What is Auquan planning for the world next? Our end goal is to fundamentally change the way decisions are made in finance. The next step would be for all of the decision making in hedge funds or investment management funds to be powered by some form of Auqua