This Entrepreneur is Building up a Good Stock in the Trading Industry

They offer data science problems to a community of students and scientists, who work and give them the solution, for a cash prize

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The trading industry in India is one that’s often riddled with confusion and chaos but also, one that has always been thriving.

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It has also seen the rise of a number of start-ups in the space that are looking at offering trading solutions to brokers and traders. From advisory start-ups to facilitators, the ecosystem is quick at cracking the trading code.

A significant change brought in with technology is the dependency shift from humans to computers. Earlier, the industry worked on the intuition of a senior trader, who would take the call for most things. But data entry has changed the story. With quantitative technology-based training, the move has been from subjective discretion to a data-driven approach.

Identifying this change, Chandini Jain, a trader with Chicago-based Optiver, moved back to Delhi to set up Auquan, which offers solutions to trading companies.

Competing to Find the Right Solution

The growth of data-driven, quantitative style funds over the past 10 years gave an impetus to Jain to start off on her own. She realized that trading strategies were related to data skills, for which she should reach out to data scientists, who would work on finance. Her company organizes QuantQuest, a competition where data scientists and students can solve problems. The winners from the first edition even helped the company build the tool box and the platform.

“Trading is a multi-step process and solving data problems is the first step. We take these data science problems and offer them to a community of students and scientists, who work on it and give us the solution, for a cash prize. What makes it interesting is that we turned it into an online competition,” she said. They then offer these solutions to the trading companies to be put up in the market.

Busting the Myth

For Jain, one of the important parts of her job is to create awareness. Because of the complexities involved with trading, most people think they are not qualified to find solutions to a data problem or worse, don’t try because they think it cannot be done by them. Jain set out to change this perception.

“These problems can be solved by data scientists and researches even if they are not from the finance background. But lots of it is just math and data. Data students weren’t even aware that they can use this skill in finance. So, we have students, who register for the competition. We have partnered with the placement cells of IITs and IIMs. As with our partnership with Optiver, we give the students a chance to get hired by the company as well,” said Jain. The first edition of the competition had 1,400 registrations whereas the second edition is currently open for applications and has already received 3,600 registrations.  

Growing at a Fast Rate

Leaving a comfortable job that she loved in the US, Jain made her way back to India because she wanted to start something of her own. She took her passion for trading and turned it into a business. “I saw the opportunity because of very little has been done in this sector and thus, the talent is untapped,” she said. Her friend Kanav Arora, VP engineering at Urban Clap, serving as their Tech Adviser and her brother Shub Jain, Full Stack Developer at Gusto, are helping build the platform.

Having been in the trading industry for long, Jain knew that for trading companies to accept solutions that students have come up with could be a difficult task, as money is involved. “We assure them the solutions are vetted by us (our team of experts),” she said.

Having started in December 2016, they have a long way to go but for Jain, a passionate trader, this is the golden opportunity as is evident in the name of the company – an anagram for gold quant (Auquan).

Sanchita Dash

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Entrepreneur Staff

In the business of news for 5 years now. Making my way across India thanks to my career. A media graduate from Symbiosis, Pune, I have earlier worked with Deccan Chronicle (South India's leading English daily), T-Hub (India's largest incubator) and Anthill Ventures (a speed-scaling platform). 

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