9W Search creates a financial search site for mobile users
Susan Strausberg knows how to dig into financial information and make it accessible to the masses.
She founded Edgar Online in 1995, grew the company to 200 employees, took it public in 1999 and then left in 2007 to pursue other passions.
Two years ago, Strausberg and her husband, Marc, moved from New York to Austin and created a startup called 9W Search, a sophisticated financial search engine primarily for mobile users.
“We’re enabling a huge underserved market to access financial information in the easiest possible way,” Strausberg said during a recent interview and meeting at Lola Savannah coffeehouse in Austin. 9W provides key company information, five years of financial data, people information for each company, a live stock quote as well as footnotes to financial statements.
To illustrate the ease of use, Strausberg showed off 9W Search’s capabilities on her iPad. She compared the financial results of three companies: Rackspace, Dell and IBM. 9W Search’s database contains information on approximately 12,000 US public companies. The tool gave real-time financial results in an easy to understand format. It culled and compiled data like revenue per employee, market capitalization, share price, earnings and more.
What differentiates 9W Search from other financial search engines is its ability to pull select metrics that Strausberg has deemed extremely valuable from vast and incomprehensible amounts of online data. She has selected the metrics based on her years of experience in working with financial data.
9W Search has the ability to sort through all the data because of a new data standard, extensible Business Reporting Language, known as XBRL. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has mandated that companies provide financial statement information in this format which vastly improves the transparency of reported data. Strausberg’s former company, EDGAR Online, played a key role in making the data interactive by creating “sets of definitions, or taxonomies, to enable the automatic extraction and exchange of data. Interactive data taxonomies can be applied — much like bar codes are applied to merchandise — to allow computers to recognize that data and feed it into analytical tools,” according to the SEC.
“Most financial information companies have hand-keyed their data.,” Strausberg said. “This new technology changes the way we can take data and turn it into actionable information.”
That’s the sweet spot for 9W Search.
“9W Search identifies a manageable set of key financial items from the thousands of different data points that are important in accessing a company’s financial picture,” Strausberg said. “We democratize access to financial information and make it usable for the average person.”
Who wants access to this information?
“People who need to see a picture of the market at given moment in time, ” Strausberg said.
Sales people, potential employees researching a company, students, companies, analysts, private
wealth managers, individuals, nonprofit organizations, real estate agents, anyone who needs to
do financial research, she said.
“Data equals information, equals knowledge, equals power,” Strausberg said. “If anything, there is too much data, she said. “It’s difficult to do competitive analysis and complete research easily with most financial search sites. 9W Search culls the gems from the ocean of data and arms our users with actionable information.”
And what exactly does 9W Search mean? It’s an old Vaudeville joke, Strausberg said.
Here’s a version:
“9W is the answer to a question.What is the question?”
Q: “Herr Wagner, does your name begin with a V?”
A: “Nein, W!”
9W Search has four employees currently and is seeking $600,000 in funding to further develop and market its product, Strausberg said. The company has a pilot test of the search engine available on its website. 9W Search plans to first provide a free version and subsequently charge for later releases.