Alternative data: 360° view of companies and professionals
Alternative data, also known as external data, is information collected from non-traditional, external data sources, generated either by individuals, business processes, or sensors. In finance, it is leveraged by businesses and investors to extract valuable insights, generate business opportunities, improve deal sourcing, and guide investment decisions.
Coresignal's alternative data
Below you will find our full data offering consisting of a total of 20 unique alternative data sources in 8 categories.
Community and repository data
Access public data about software projects, experienced developers, and data analysts.
Discover noteworthy software projects
Source talented professionals
Use it for social listening
Company employee review data
Leverage public data from company review sites to gain internal insights on how a company is doing.
Gain unique insights on companies
Identify underlying risks and problems
Capture changes in sentiment over time
Company funding data
Make better investment decisions based on accurate company funding data.
Generate business opportunities
Screen investment candidates
Understand market landscape
Get firmographics of millions of companies worldwide, grouped by unique identifiers.
See the full company picture
Map company locations
Dig deep into company structures
Job posting data
Track the growth of selected companies and their teams, identify locations to which a company is planning to expand to, and more
Generate business opportunities
Capture company traction
Gain strategic competitive insights
Public resume data
Utilize public member data from business-related platforms to generate unique people intelligence insights.
Track talent movement for investment opportunities
Source best-fit talent for your recruitment needs
Fuel your lead generation pipeline
Tech product review data
Product review data uncovers market sentiment for specific products or companies by various slices.
Measure product traction
Identify market winning conditions
Technographic data provides overview on the technological stack of the company, as well as detailed information on specific technologies.
Generate business opportunities
Evaluate technological capacity
Alternative data for investors
Alternative data enables extracting up-to-date and accurate insights, allowing hedge funds and investment firms to survey potential startups, track company or product popularity, their growth rates, and more, ultimately leading to a better-informed investment process.
Alternative data for businesses
Our datasets provide B2B and B2C companies with up-to-date market data and always fresh business-related people intelligence. From researching market trends to generating leads or unlocking the power of data-driven recruitment, alternative data is becoming increasingly indispensable for modern business.
Free data sample
- See the sample structure of our resume and company JSON records
- Explore the main resume and firmographic data points
- Find out the definition of each data point
Use cases for alternative data
Although alternative data, in general, might be used creatively in a near-infinite amount of cases, the data offered by Coresignal is mostly used for the practices listed below.
Combine public company data with traditional datasets for analysis and enhanced investment strategies. Alternative data, combined with the power of AI/ML, enables investors to generate trade signals, identify risks and make better predictions.
Data-driven recruitment takes the hiring process to a new level. By leveraging data when analyzing talent and prospects, recruiters can make efficient and data-driven decisions.
With Coresignal's rich and continuously updated public resume datasets, fuel your lead generation pipeline with data on a wide range of decision-makers and stakeholders.
Companies can leverage our up-to-date alternative datasets as well as our historical data offering to help identify and evaluate market and industry trends for enhanced decision-making.
What is alternative data?
Alternative data refers to big data generated either by individuals, business processes, or sensors that are collected from non-traditional sources. For example, traditional data is exclusive to data that's produced by companies themselves, while alternative data relies on the collection and data scraping services. Specifically, traditional data can include investor presentations, SEC filings, financial statements, and press releases. In contrast, alternative data includes externally sourced factors such as company size based on headcount or revenue, location of HQ and branch offices, web traffic, reviews, employee salaries, organizational structure, and much more. Also, with public resume data, which is one category of alternative data, you can even see the ethnicity and gender distribution in companies to conclude certain DEI data statistics.
Alt data is most commonly acquired through data harvesting of public web data, acquisition of raw data, and third-party licensing.
Additionally, businesses can utilize alternative or B2B data to help fuel and build AI-based technologies, generate more business opportunities, conduct competitive analysis, and enrich their existing datasets. A B2B database will supply you with insights tailored specifically for B2B businesses. B2B database providers allow access to fresh and accurate data, eliciting the need to collect and manage it on your own.
More specifically, HR tech companies, lead generation platforms, B2B, and B2C companies are all able to extract valuable insights from using alternative data.
In general, alternative data sets up your business for more insightful decisions and improved overall performance.
Alternative data in finance
So, what exactly is alternative data in finance? It refers to data that exists beyond the sphere of traditional data sources.
A couple of the most popular traditional data sources are surveys and fill-in forms. However, you can only get a little bit of information from those. The main reason behind it is the fact that people do not want to answer lengthy questionnaires for your benefit. The more questions you ask, the better reward they want, and sometimes it becomes disproportional. As a result, relying on traditional data sources is no longer a viable solution in the age of digital domination.
As far as the sources beyond traditional measures are concerned, these alternative sources are utilized by investors, analysts, and hedge funds to aid in company and investment evaluation. Some brief examples of such data include public social media/sentiment, satellite and weather sensor data, transactional data from credit and debit cards, email receipts, survey data, and much more.
In increasingly data-driven financial markets, alternative data providers supply investors with fresh sources for enhancing their alpha. Alpha, also known as an active return on investment, measures the performance of an investment based on an appropriate market index. Ultimately, big data providers help investors with unique and timely insights for their investments, increasing their active return on investment.
Alternative data vs. traditional data
Alternative data, sometimes referred to as exhaust or external data, involves data generated by three sources: individuals, business processes, and sensors. Whereas traditional data is exclusive to data that's produced by companies themselves, alternative data relies on the collection and web scraping services. For example, traditional data can be things such as investor presentations, SEC filings, financial statements, and press releases.
While both data types provide financial insights into a given company, the progress surrounding the alt data sector provided investors and hedge funds with a more complete picture of short-term and long-term investments and business decisions.
The different types of alternative data
Over the past decade, big data solutions have grown significantly. In its infancy, alt data sources included credit card data, web-scraped data, and geolocations. As alternative data continues to prove its success, along with the advent of new data sources, experts in such data are finding new ways to retrieve these datasets as well as analyze them.
According to Forbes, alternative data has expanded to include a taxonomy of 24 different types of data. Beyond these 24 data types, alt data, as mentioned earlier, is generated from three main sources: individuals, business processes, and sensors. Let us take a more detailed look at what they entail.
While individuals provide large amounts of robust qualitative data, alternative data generated by individuals also proves to be highly unstructured and often difficult to sift through. For this reason, it's important that datasets consisting of individual data are well-structured and that only the essential data points get picked. Some individual data sources include:
- Social media
- Product reviews
- Search engines
- Comments and web interactions
Unlike individual-driven data, businesses tend to produce structured data that provides investors with comprehensive financial insights for a given business. Some business process data sources include:
- Credit card transactions
- Sales data
- Corporate data
- Government data
Another largely unstructured data type, data generated from sensors, is expanding in the alternative data field. Due to the interconnectivity of devices and the development of sensor-based technology, analysts and investors alike find this data extremely valuable. Some sensor data sources include:
- POS data
- Other devices
As mentioned previously, alt data is acquired through data harvesting, acquisition of raw data, and third-party licensing.
Data harvesting collects unstructured data from web pages and online sources through web-scraping solutions. With the help of web data scraping services, you can gather a huge amount of data which can then be processed and prepared for use. By using data parsing methods, the data is transformed into structured and readable CSV and JSON formats ready for interpretation by analysts and investors. This is the sort of data that data providers, such as Coresignal, offer. In short, by using this technique you can get data from websites and other online sources.
Raw data acquisition
Raw data acquisition is the process of obtaining sizable amounts of unprocessed data, obtained from multiple source types. This data type contains lots of noise and requires significant processing in order to be analyzed and utilized by investors.
Third-party licensing refers mainly to recovered financial data involved in transactions. Big data companies recover said transactional data like POS data, credit card transactions, etc., and package it in easy-to-read formats for investors.
How can you get alternative data?
You can either select one of the data collection methods described above, or you can confide in an alternative data provider. Top big data companies have numerous datasets that you could use. The only thing you need to do is choose which one fits your needs the best.
Data providers such as Coresignal make sure that the data you get is fresh and relevant. Therefore, you do not need to be concerned about its accuracy. It can be conveniently delivered in comprehensible CSV and JSON formats. Also, the information you have gathered from one data source is trumped by many data sources that data providers have access to.
Our vast public company database, including people data, offers fresh and relevant information for improved business decisions. For instance, with our Company data API, you can gather insights into both company firmographics and people data. A company dataset will give you all the information you need regarding a selected business. Furthermore, our company data includes a company profile database, allowing for insights into the employees working there. In turn, you can use that information to enhance your business strategies.
Generally speaking, buying new data from data providers is more effective and cost-efficient than gathering the data on your own.
Collecting your own data requires an in-house team of data experts that can structure and interpret the new data, and hiring a team of experts can take a lot of time and resources. Those processes are required for the new data to be usable and valuable.
Data providers take care of that for you.
The only thing you need to do after making a purchase is to use it to boost your operations.
As a result, buying business data (or alternative data) is more convenient and useful in the long term than acquiring it on your own.
Who uses alternative data?
Due to alternative data's multiplicity of use cases, many professionals have found a use for alt data. There are various ways businesses and investors can leverage alternative data. Professionals using alternative data the most are algorithmic traders, also known as quants, who use the datasets they acquire to construct computer models for trade. However, alternative data is also utilized by hedge funds, analysts, and other institutional investment professionals.
Alternative data covers a broad range of factors that influence a company's alpha, making it a commodity for predictive investing. Specifically, investors consider factors such as scarcity, granularity, history, structure, and coverage when choosing what types of alternative datasets to invest in.
What data do investors use?
Investors utilize some of the most well-known alternative datasets, including social sentiment, credit card transactions, and web traffic data. These data types provide investment firms with competitive intelligence and risk management insights due to their pervasiveness in the alternative data space.
Additionally, financial firms find alternative data more favorable due to its accessibility compared to traditional, which sometimes takes longer (due to legal processes) for official figures.
Further, some widely used datasets such as credit card transactions and traffic patterns, are important to both private equity firms and hedge funds. On one hand, private equity investment decisions tend to focus more on the long-term, while on the other hand hedge funds focus on both long-term and short-term.
Both hedge funds and private equity firms benefit from alternative data companies because it provides robust short-term and long-term insights.
5 years in the market
Our team includes some of the most experienced web data extraction professionals.
Reliable and convenient delivery
Regularly updated datasets are delivered in ready-to-use formats for your convenience.
Dedicated account managers
Get the most out of your data with Coresignal's dedicated account managers.
Parsed, ready-to-use data
Boost your data-driven insights with parsed, ready-to-use data delivered in multiple formats.
Raw, in-depth datasets
Coresignal's raw datasets include 618M member and 86M company profiles.
Clean and accurate records
Coresignal strives to provide you with fresh and accurate data from high-quality sources.
Frequently asked questions
How big is the alternative data market?
According to Grand View Research, the size of the alternative data market reached 1.64 billion at the end of 2020 and is expected to reach a market size of USD 17.35 billion by 2027.
How much does alternative data cost?
The price varies depending on the user and the use case; however, according to Institutional Investor, it ranges from 25,000 USD all the way up to 500,000 USD. In addition to purchasing third-party alternative data, companies should build a data experts' team responsible for managing and storing the data.
Who uses alternative data?
The most common users include VCs, hedge funds, private equity firms, corporations, SaaS companies, and analysts.
How is alternative data used?
In finance, it is used to discover valuable business insights and generate business opportunities. More specifically, businesses and investors leverage alternative datasets to conduct predictive analytics and anticipate buying behavior, handle market research, boost lead generation, and fuel data-driven recruitment.
How are hedge funds using alternative data?
With the recent advancements in AI technology hedge funds are primarily utilizing the data to enhance their investment intelligence and generate business opportunities.
What is alternative data analytics?
Alternative data analytics is a broader term that encompasses the various data analysis processes utilized by companies and investors.