James Crawford, the former Google Inc. engineer, is in the business of selling analysis of obscure data sets to traders. Obscure date sets is a growing market among sophisticated investors who want bit of information that is not widely available. Orbital Insight Inc., Crawford’s company, is in the process of analyzing satellite images of construction sites throughout China. The goal is to give traders data that is independent from the government concerning the country’s construction boom or slow down. The company's previous studies include predicting how crops will shape up using cornfield images, and studying parking lots to indicate retail sales.
Dataminr, Inc. is the first company to gain traction in this data field. The company combs through daily tweets to find market-moving news before it hits the wire. The systems categorize and analyze every tweet in real time while weeding out spam and comparing information against news feeds, market prices, weather patterns, and other data to determine the significance. Subscribers receive alerts whenever the system identifies a “Notable Signal.” Dataminr, Inc. systems found information about Home Depot’s possible credit card breach before the Home Depot’s share declined 2% and many subscribers saw the first report of the Boston Marathon bombing on their Dataminr desktop app.