Justin Zhen and Gregory Ugwi, co-founders of Thinknum, want to bring financial modeling tools to the world outside Wall Street — and they’ve got the analytical chops to back up their grand vision.
“The way to learn finance is to look at the best financial models in the world,” says Zhen. “We want to become a channel for a domain expert in India to share her analysis with someone in New York.”
Justin tells us that he and Greg met playing intramural soccer at Princeton, “talked about many business ideas,” and kept in touch while working their respective financial jobs — Justin at a hedge fund, Greg at Goldman Sachs. The duo decided to quit their jobs and work full-time on Thinknum in May 2013, and continue to bootstrap and design the site themselves.
“We are only two people, but there are so many interesting things that we can build with Thinknum,” says Justin. “The challenge is narrowing down and prioritizing certain features over others.”
Thinknum’s focus on collaboration and public data — aggregated from over 2,000 sources — could lead to greater transparency and accuracy for publicly-traded stock predictions, as users are able to create, upload and view models for free. The site’s models update automatically whenever companies publish their public earnings. Thinknum also has clients at several major Wall Street firms, who pay a subscription fee to keep their models private.
As for the talk of a ‘tech bubble,’ Justin has an analytical response fit for a financial position paper:
“I think current tech valuations are justified. There are currently two billion people on the Internet, with another five billion coming on over the next five to ten years. This is like the Industrial Revolution on a much bigger scale. These markets are enormous; by this virtue, the future winners of tech will dwarf the previous winners.”