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Tiingo – Pay-what-you-want “high-end” financial tools (tiingo.com)
163 points by brbcoding on Dec 19, 2015 | hide | past | favorite | 34 comments

I have very mixed feelings about this.

This seems like a very weird pricing strategy on the one hand and a very weird charitable strategy on the other.

Frankly, the last thing poor people need is free access to high-end stock trading tools so they can piss away their money on losers and transaction fees.

This seems about the same as offering poor people free rides to the gas station so they can buy a lottery ticket. I mean, you're giving them a free ride, but to what end?


I'm the founder of Tiingo and just saw a huge influx of users! Thank you HN!

I 100% agree with you. The podcasts are there for educational purposes and I try my best to emphasize the limits of quantitative modeling and backtesting. I was a former quant trader and saw experienced people make the same mistakes.

My goal on the site is therefore give tools, but not recommendations. It's the reason I don't associate with brokerages either, I want the data to be unbiased as possible.

My hope is that newcomers and experienced individuals alike come onboard and listen to the podcasts that emphasize just this.

In terms of pricing strategy, I will be enforcing a minimum $1/month floor coming in the next couple weeks.

But either way, people deserve so much better and I'm going to try my best to make sure the tools and information remain intellectually honest.


Hi Rishi,

I'm a current student so please forgive my naiveté of any real-world implementations.

You mentioned "My goal on the site is therefore give tools, but not recommendations."

Do you have any plans to offer portfolio construction tools? I took a portfolio construction class which used Andrew Ang's book as a theoretical basis and was struck at how simple it appeared to create [insert weighting scheme here] portfolios.

I think though a platform could go a step further and demonstrate how to execute different strategies that appear to be only executable by hedge funds. i.e. can you show [insert publicly-tradable assets] which when bought together appear to replicate a hedge fund's beta (maybe not HFRI but some sort of market-neutral beta)?

I dunno it just feels there's a lot that can be done to remove the mysticism from wealth management and open data is just the beginning of such a movement.

I've met Rishi @ Tiingo a few times and the fact of the matter is he is super passionate about liberating financial data and tools. I think that his pricing model and generosity are truly born from his genuine interest and love of the product. Seems strange, but its true! Hey anything to break up the 2.5k/mo bloomberg stranglehold....

its a zero sum game though- i guess the charity is in leveling the playing field a little bit?

People are already pissing away their 401k thinking they can strike it rich and beat the market because they successfully backtested against some tick data on 50 symbols, paid some offshorer a few hundred dollars to implement their trading algorithm against IB or in NinjaTrader on a high margin and no limit orders. Trust me, people have been trying to 'beat the market' competing against the Renaissances and PIMCOs for ages.

E-trade arguably does just as much damage, letting an average end user (who often lacks the industry experience of both the financial industry as well as the company in which they choose to invest) throw their money into anything. A VC once said he knew the Web 1.0 boom was over when his cabbie told him to invest in Cisco.

I, for one, think that the Bloomberg reign -of-terror can't end soon enough. They're as bad as Elsevier in monopolizing information. Information can be used properly or improperly in any context[1]. You want to see some real damage? Give that demographic access to Q/KDB+ and let them underwrite a 20x inter-day margin with their mortgages.

[1]Go to any o-chem forum and you'll see tons of graduate students talking about research chemical drug synthesis techniques, precursor availability, ways around DEA watched-chemical lists, etc. It's vaguely masked in their own lexicon, but it's plain as day.

Edit: By throwing away ones 401k, I meant "cashing out their 401k and effectively gambling on a handful of stocks". Low-load / no-load 401k's and (Roth) IRAs are way safer prospective investments often with useful tax benefits. I keep my 401k with Vanguard and they explicitly say "Very few Vanguard funds charge fees when you buy and sell shares. The fees are designed to help those funds cover higher transaction costs and protect long-term investors by discouraging short-term, speculative trading." which is a mentality that most people should adopt. https://investor.vanguard.com/mutual-funds/fees

> I, for one, think that the Bloomberg reign -of-terror can't end soon enough. They're as bad as Elsevier in monopolizing information.

I don't understand this opinion, and want to.

Bloomberg work with 3rd party data that's licensed not only to them, but multiple other platforms too. Elsevier monopolise sources so they're the only publisher.

A lot of data on Bloomberg is public, just organised in a really familiar (to Bloomberg users) UI.

Getting into detail: A lot of data in markets is simply inaccessible on any platform (hidden orders, etc), and some data services try to discover this, but that's not like an academic journal monopolising papers.

> A lot of data on Bloomberg is public, just organised in a really familiar (to Bloomberg users) UI.

Besides HistData I have never been able to find even high granularity intraday FX data. Price data is non trivial to find

Fine-grained trade data is almost always charged. Exchanges charge their clients to get data directly, and they charge multiples as much to those clients like Bloomberg who wish to redistribute the same data. This is not really surprising--exchanges are run for profit and the data are valuable.

Plus, successful traders have an interest in keeping the barrier to entry as high as possible--if you're making a few million a year not only can you afford to pay $5k for the data, you might prefer it cost $50k.

You should be able to get it directly from your broker. My broker gave me their historical data downloader for free after I made a large deposit with them, and I was able to download T1 (tick) data for ten currencies pairs for the last five years with it.

> People are already pissing away their 401k thinking they can strike it rich and beat the market

Not really? I mean, sure, maybe a few are, but on the whole 401(k) returns are actually shockingly good considering the level of control people have over them. Default target-date funds work really well.

How did your funds perform during the 2008 crash?

I admire the intentions and the hard work behind this however...

The issue I have with pay-what-you-want or low revenue business models is they're unsustainable.

Either declare something a passion/charity project and make it complete free (but perhaps open to receiving donations) to properly set users' expectations or monetize it.

I takes a lot of time to develop and maintain complex technology like trading tools.

I don't know what the founder's background is. However, if he makes good money from other sources, after the initial euphoria of sharing his tools with the world goes away, he'll have stay motivated doing the grunt work to maintain it. And pay out of pocket for expenses and the value of his own time a PWYC pricing model likely won't cover.

Making money (and a profit) isn't evil or bad, it's necessary both to see if your market (and audience) deems your product worth developing and to keep yourself motivated (and compensated fairly enough) to work on something.

A lot of companies have shut down due to lack of funds (or the ability of makers to go without making much money). It's risky for an user to try a product with a tenuous future, come to base their work flow on it only for it to be closed down down the road. Especially with something like trading.

Hi there Abundance,

To address this concern outright: in the next couple weeks I was (and still am) planning to make a minimum payment of a $1/month. Without divulging too much into why, the company can be wildly profitable at such a price and my breakeven is very low.

My background has been specializing in structuring data, scalable computing, and also building trading software and trading models/algos.

I'm in the middle of a raise and so far all the investors, when seeing how I was able to pull this all off, are onboard with the pricing model and are eager to get started working together.

I can't divulge too much further publicly quite yet- but not only is this pricing model feasible, but has gotten the approval of the small group I've demonstrated it to.

Like I said, expect a $1/month minimum going forward in the next couple weeks. Also, I've been doing this almost 2 years now, full-time and without a paycheck, and the euphoria hasn't wore off :)

Thanks for the clarification.

Having investors changes the equation quite a bit. Depending on how much they've put in, that should give you a good runway to be able to experiment with the pricing model. Wish you the best of luck!

What's the data source for the fundamental data and how reliable is it (considering it is free)?

A good friend of mine, Vincent from Sharadar sources the data. It is not free for me-

I'm a huge data integrity nut, a spillover from when I used to trade quantitatively. I run my own data cleaning algos and I've found Sharadar's data to be far cleaner than sources like bloomberg.

A lot of people assume BBG's (bloomberg) data is impeccable, but I had an entire database of mistakes I found in Bloomberg that I had to correct. Any quant trader will tell you this. In the middle of the day, Bloomberg would swap the 2nd and 3rd continuous futures contract. It drove me nuts when it happened and was a motivation behind Tiingo.

There is this false sense that financial data needs to be expensive. No - to me the public data is a commodity and that's the way the world of financial data is moving. Vince shares this idea with me and encourages me to be more open with my data. I will be offering an API pilot program in the coming week as I develop my own API for the data I source myself.

Vince's company is: http://sharadar.com/

And is available via the Quandl API http://www.quandl.com

Also, not only does Tiingo source its own dividend data, but it shows its work. if you go to https://www.tiingo.com/d/t and hover over the binoculars you will see the values highlighted.

I do this to fight the idea of perceived value when it comes to financial data. Nobody else will give you this level of detail for dividend data. I started doing this because I found my existing dividend vendor data riddled with errors. That's how nutty I am about data.

Share the same passion about data.

I regularly (at least once a week, sometimes multiple times per day) BBM'd the Bloomberg helpdesk with notifications that their data was wrong. This varied across many of our needs, but even simple stuff like money supply / macro stats was often just wrong. How had no one spotted this before? We ended up just using Datastream terminal for macro data.

Killer feature is Excel plugins. Do you have plans for this?

Edit: Just tried Quandl didn't know about this before. What a fantastic tool.

It's crazy isn't it? The worst mistake BBG made for me was the futures contract there, where the WTI 2nd and 3rd contract swapped places when open interest/volume hadn't shifted! it switched back 30 minutes later??? That was crazy to me because how many people rely on cl2/cl3 when making decisions??

I do but frankly I can't put a specific timeline on it quite yet. The pilot API program will start next week and I'll be starting with JSON objects. Once that moves forward I'll start exploring Excel add-ins.

Quandl.com has an excel add-in already and I may just start plugging in my data into them after I feel comfortable beta testing under the pilot program.

My addin works with quandl too, but avoids using any VBA or GUI. All the HTTP GETs are done on a background thread in C#, the result being your quandl downloads can be far more automated than with quandl's own addin.


Not sure if this is too much to ask, but is there any plan to also provide this data in some raw form? Would be interesting to dive in.

Yep, I will be doing an API rollout soon. Pilot program to launch in the coming weeks.

In terms of fundamental data or certain data, I will not because I want Vince's business (Sharadar) to flourish as well. Maybe down the line Vince and I can figure out bulk pricing but he has a solid platform so I will not bulk redistribute his data unless we figure out a good compensation plan for him :)

His data is $50/month through for a single user license.

My other data; i.e. metrics (comparative and statistical), mutual fund data, dividend data, fund holding data, etc. I plan to release :)

Thanks, I appreciate the explanation :)

Thanks for the data source, I came here to ask that same question. The site look nice.

Very impressive bio btw.

This is super cool. I've played with Bloomberg terminals a few times at hackathons & job fairs, and this has a very similar feel.

Isn't tingo.com going to send you a cease and desist at some point? Seems like you need a new name.

Trademarks are industry-specific. I don't see how people would sign up for this thinking it was for a travel site.

On pay-what-you-want pricing, can you deduct that from income if you're a business? Might be better to have business pricing, personal pricing, and demo/free pricing, and just rely on an honor system for people to select which bucket applies to them. But if you only expect people to pay a small amount, then I doubt tax deductions are much of a concern.

For these fields: http://imgur.com/EPCL65s

Having a link to those numbers as supporting backup would be convenient, such as the 10-K.

I think it is nice to have a quick confirmation, as well as reading other information that the quote provides (footnotes, prospectus, 8-K)

Quite like this idea. Whilst this kind of information maybe dangerous, I like the fact that anyone can access it

I was just lamenting that I could never afford Bloomberg's terminal, and then I found this, and now I'm signed up. Thanks! I am not looking to trade, but merely to educate myself, and I am just learning how to manage real time data or time series. Perfect. @intenscia - what information is 'dangerous'? Just curious.

Given the pay what you want, pricing how will you prevent hedge funds and such from utilizing your data?

"high end" and "pay what you want" don't ordinarily go together.

Yep, which makes this all the more fun :)

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