"Eagle Alpha is the leading provider of insights from the Web to Wall Street."
Hi Emmett and welcome to our inspiring startup talks with entrepreneurs! Firstly, tell us a bit about yourself and how you ended up becoming an entrepreneur?
My father was a successful technology entrepreneur so I have always wanted to become an entrepreneur. After college I went to learn how the world works - I joined Credit Suisse to work on technology, media and telecom IPOs. More recently I worked at Morgan Stanley until I came up with the idea for Eagle Alpha.
How did you come up with the idea and what inspired you to build Eagle Alpha?
The initial idea for Eagle Alpha came from a hedge fund manager. I was inspired to build Eagle Alpha through speaking with potential customers.
Who is Eagle Alpha targeted at and what pain points does your business solve for your business clients?
Eagle Alpha is targeted at asset managers. The significant majority of asset managers do not have the dedicated resources focusing on exploiting alternative data e.g. research analysts that are specialists in alternative data, data scientists and engineers.
Before starting your business, you must have done market validation and thorough research about the field. Can you talk us through the research process that you went through prior to setting up Eagle Alpha? What else did you have to consider before the deep dive?
I obtained market validation for the MVP concept through discussions with potential customers, shareholders and contacts on Wall Street.
The team plays a pivotal role in making or breaking of the success of a company. You have a very strong team and that can be understood looking at the success of Eagle Alpha. Can you tell us how did you go about building your team?
The best people need to be appropriately incentivised. I believe every employee should have share options so they think like an equity owner / shareholder. I set aside 20% of the original issued share capital for share options to give to employees and advisors.
What is the biggest motivation that helps you to stay ahead of the others in your field?
I enjoy what I do, have a relentless drive to succeed and a fear of failure.
Can you tell us about your first client and how you managed to get them on board and pay for your social media insights services? Would you have any tips for other entrepreneurs on getting first customers on board?
My first client was the hedge fund manager that inspired the idea for Eagle Alpha. My tip to other entrepreneurs is engaging a few customers as part of a pre-launch period where you ask for their advice i.e. getting them to feel like they are creating the product.
Can you talk us through the whole process of identifying the angel investors and convincing them to invest in your startup?
I have spent my whole career raising equity including a $10bn IPO and several angel rounds. For me accessing the rolodexes of Wall Street head hunters was the shortest way for me to get in front of people that understand our business and had lots of money.
Do you have any plans of expanding your business in other financial hubs of the world?
Yes, we just hired a Head of US Sales. In due course we will hire a Head of Asian Sales to be based in either Singapore or Hong Kong.
If you were to give 5 tips to young entrepreneurs, what would they be?
Incentivise All Staff
Appoint An Advisory Panel
Focus On The Product
Think About Feedback Daily.
What do you think is the best practice when it comes to raising funds?
Having spent my whole career raising funds i could speak about this topic all day! In short, I suggest following the guidelines set out by Sequoia.
What is the next for Eagle Alpha?
A large Series A fundraising.
Before we let you go, where can we find you online?
INSPIRED? SHARE YOUR STARTUP INSIGHTS WITH OTHER ENTREPRENEURS!
What drives you as an entrepreneur?
What is the best advice you received as an entrepreneur?
Sindhu Chandrasekaran is a very confident and enthusiastic journalist who loves to take up responsibilities and challenges. My quest for learning and keeping myself abreast of any developments in the field have been a drive to experiment new things. Both, the interest that I have in meeting new people, make connections and flare for writing that I am blessed with has moulded me into what I am today. You can follow Sindhu on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.