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Alternative Data

Deriving insights from uncommon data streams


Alternative data, commonly known as "big data" and also referred to as "data exhaust," are information gathered from non-traditional sources. Traditional data sources, and, consequently, alternative data sources, vary by industry. In the financial services industry, for example, traditional sources include financial statements, SEC filings, press releases, and company presentations. Alternative data sources include social media and sentiment data, web traffic and app usage data, credit/debit card transaction data, and geo-location, satellite, and weather data. 

Alternative data are usually voluminous and less structured than data from traditional sources; nevertheless, their value lies in their analysis, which can yield additional insights into an industry. Alternative data can be broadly categorized into data generated by individuals, data generated through business processes, and data generated by sensors.

Alternative data are used across multiple industries and may be accessed through in-house web scraping or through acquisition and third-party licensing from a data source provider. The BFSI (banking, financial services, and insurance) sector, which includes hedge funds, mutual funds, private equity funds, pension funds, unit trusts, and life insurance companies, dominates the alternative data market in terms of end user. The IT and telecommunications sector is another key market.

* Note: Additional sections (such as market sizing, detailed overview, and incumbents) can be provided on request.

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