May 16, 2022

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Unhedged app lets AI robots invest

Financial startup Unhedged has launched its app after raising US$3.1 million in funding and onboarding 8,000 customers.

The company claims that AI robots “beat humans at investing.”

Founders Peter Bakker, Glenn Vanbavinckhove, and Saskia Albers see the trend towards AI as perfect timing.

“While we are a fair way off mainstream adoption, consumers are considering autonomous vehicles (AVs) while already speaking to AI chatbots and devices like Alexa at home,” comments Unhedged CEO Peter Bakker.

“People are craving products that help build their wealth and allow them to be competitive in markets typically reserved for insiders.”

“Algorithmic investing is out there, but not yet easily accessible to everyday investors who arguably would benefit the most from its knowledge and scalability. Democratisation in this area is inevitable,” says Unhedged chief operating officer Saskia Albers.

Today, algorithms execute 80 to 90% of equity trading volumes according to HFR and the World Bank. In 2018, “quant” funds managed only $932 billion – a mere 1.2% of the total value of stocks traded at US$77.6 trillion. Preqin notes that 23% of Hedge Funds in the equity space already use AI to generate trading strategies.

While funds are heading towards to AI, where does that leave the everyday consumers, the Unhedged team asks.

Quantitative investing has historically been incredibly expensive, with their PhD teams and supercomputers: investments that made most quant funds unreachable as they dealt with big chunks of capital. On top of that, most regulators have designated hedge funds as a “rich people’s playground” and limit retail investors.

In the academia, Unhedged says, the pursuit of the AI holy grail is ongoing. Dr. Nitin Yadav of Melbourne University says:

“We teach Algorithmic Trading to students. From the basic models and game theory, we add complexity with known risks and a few ’states’, the world quickly becomes non-linear,” says Melbourne University Dr Nitin Yadav.

Now, thanks to the warp speed that AI and machine learning have developed, alongside greater accessibility to computing power, retail investors are getting a look into automated investing.

“While other robots were stuck with their predetermined positions and rode the market, among other proprietary processes, our algorithms run defensive states to mitigate loss,” says Unhedged chief technology officer and chief quant Glenn Vanbavinckhove.

“It used to be a space that was about absolute returns and high-frequency trading. Now, it’s accelerating towards quant strategies for long term investment,” concludes Unhedged advisor Dr Thomas Starke.


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