Can This Startup Take on Bloomberg as a Real-Time News Service?

Seth Fiegerman| Mashable

Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters may dominate the market for real-time financial news, but one startup founded by two high school dropouts is planning to launch a new option in this space next year. Owlin, a 1-year-old firm that came out of the Rockstart.Accelerator program in Amsterdam, announced Tuesday that it has raised $250,000 in seed funding to continue developing its real-time news analysis and information technology.

Owlin’s service crawls millions of blogs, company pages and news websites and relies on algorithms to surface breaking news and trends in particular regions. Based on this, Owlin provides a dashboard that can alert stock traders and fund managers to news as it happens, and just as importantly, provide customers with some context for breaking events.

“As soon as we see that there is some sort of local buzz in any country in the world, we can pass the news on, straight to someone’s dashboard,” Sjoerd Leemhuis, a business developer at Owlin, told Mashable in an e-mail. “So we provide context to news, you can see (near) real-time how it grows online, where it started and how much buzz a news item has.”

In a press release announcing the funding news this week, the company explained that it can “deliver bottom-up news 10 to 15 minutes before Bloomberg or Reuters” by “cutting out the middle man and looking in the right places.”

However, Leemhuis was quick to point out that the service will not compete with these media companies for more traditional financial news stories.

“In some cases, we can detect and pass on bottom-up news before the big news providers [such] as Bloomberg and Reuters,” he said. “So yes, we are faster, but not with traditional publications like annual reports or official announcements.”

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