Business & Entrepreneurship

Helping Small Investors

James ’20 and Chris ’20 Kardatzke provide alternate financial data.

James and Chris Kardatzke smile wearing suits

James (left) and Chris Kardatzke try to bridge the information gap between retail investors and Wall Street. Anna Palmer

James Kardatzke ’20 was completing an internship in Massachusetts in January 2020 when he learned how much information people can miss when making investment decisions.

James was in the Wisconsin School of Business’s Nicholas Center Analyst Development Program when he landed the monthlong internship with Boston’s Adage Capital Management.

“I was working with what is called alternative data,” James says.

Alternative data — as opposed to traditional data, such as the financial reports that companies regularly produce — are public and can include tracking corporate jet flights; Congressional stock trading; insider trading (it’s not all illegal); corporate lobbying; government contracts; social media activity; and more. Gathered and analyzed, it can offer a lens into a company’s performance and prospects.

Back at the UW, James saw an opportunity in alternative data.

“It was being used to great effect on Wall Street,” he says. “But for everyday, nonprofessional investors who were managing their own money, this same information wasn’t available, at least not in a way that was easy for them to see.”

In 2020, James and his twin brother, Chris Kardatzke ’20, a UW statistics major, launched Quiver Quantitative to collect the raw alternative data and present it on a website in an understandable way for the retail investor.

It started as a hobby. “We gradually shifted to the idea that we could do this as a full-time business,” James says.

That Madison-based firm has blossomed. They’ve automated, writing computer scripts to the point where “there’s not a lot of manual work that goes into the data collection process,” James says.

By last spring, Quiver had 10 full-time employees, the brothers had been profiled by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and James had appeared on a CNBC special on the return of the retail trader. The company has more than one million followers on TikTok and some 600,000 on Instagram.

Much on the website is free, but there is a $30-a-month premium plan intended for the investor, James says, “who is looking to dive in and actively use the data as part of their trading process.” Quiver also has a business-to-business component that licenses and distributes their data.

“We’re really focused on continuing to grow the distribution and insight from these datasets,” James says, “to bridge the information gap between retail investors and Wall Street.”

Published in the Fall 2023 issue


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