Crowdsource Quant Network Hires Hudson Bay’s Larkin to Expand

  • Boston-based Quantopian gears up to manage outside money
  • Larkin to help select algorithms written by users to trade on

Quantopian Inc., the five-year-old online platform where coders build and run computerized trading programs, has hired Jonathan Larkin, a former portfolio manager at Hudson Bay Capital, as its chief investment officer.

Larkin will help pick and allocate money to algorithms written by Quantopian’s 80,000 or so users, as the startup seeks to open up its fund to external investors. He was previously head of U.S. equities at BlueCrest Capital Management and before that held similar positions at Nomura Holdings Inc and Millennium Management LLC.

With barriers to entry falling in computerized investing, Quantopian provides its users with tools and software to write automated trading strategies. The Boston-based firm is now hoping to connect investors with its member base as an alternative to the traditional shops like D.E. Shaw & Co. and Renaissance Technologies LLC.

“The hedge fund industry is in transition. For most of the traditional and entrenched players, asset flows are tepid, pressure on fees is high, and recent performance has been broadly disappointing,” said Larkin in a e-mailed message. “The traditional model is broken and a new business model is needed. Quantopian is that business model.”

For more than a year, Quantopian has held programming contests, trading venture-backed capital on the winning strategies and sharing those profits with the algorithms’ writers. Larkin’s hire comes as the Boston-based firm prepares to manage money beyond that from its venture capital backers, taking on external clients to operate more like a traditional hedge fund, albeit using crowdsourced algorithms.

As a part of that push, Quantopian hired Derek Meisner, formerly of RA Capital Management, as its general counsel and chief compliance officer earlier this month.

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