Singapore bound…

April 20, 2012


Innotribe Startup Challenge

Matteo Rizzi, Innovation Manager, Innotribe, says “I’m delighted to announce DemystData as a semi-finalist and look forward to discovering more about the business. This year’s semi-finalists have assessed the developments and trends in the region and have identified opportunities in the market. The entrants have each demonstrated a forward-thinking and innovative approach to the financial sector and have developed start-up businesses which could have profound impacts on the future of the industry. I’m extremely excited to give DemystData the opportunity to pitch its ideas to some of the top decision makers in the industry”.

Enough said! Looking forward to seeing everyone in Singapore on April 24th,

About Innotribe

Launched in 2009, Innotribe is SWIFT’s initiative to enable collaborative innovation in financial services.  Innotribe presents an energising mix of education, new perspectives, collaboration, facilitation and incubation to professionals and entrepreneurs who are willing to drive change within their industry. It fosters creative thinking in financial services, through debating the options (at Innotribe events) and supporting the creation of innovative new solutions (through the Incubator, Startup Challenge and Proof of Concepts (POCs). It is through this approach, the Innotribe team at SWIFT is able to generate a platform that enables innovation across SWIFT and the financial community. For more information, please visit


Your data…Your asset…

March 7, 2012


A month ago, the New York Times published an opinion piece entitled ‘Facebook is Using You.’ Effectively, they argued that the use of aggregated online data is an invasion of privacy and that a person’s online profile and/or behavior potentially paints an inaccurate picture of who they actually are.   At one extreme, yes, I agree- there is a much room in today’s society for marketers, health care providers, financial service firms, insurers, etc to misuse a person’s data based on their search habits or the types of websites an individual visits.  On the flip side, I would suspect that 9 times out of 10, there is some correlation between a users ‘web data’ and who they actually are.  In fact, I’d be willing to wager that for a large portion of the world, someone’s online profile is actually a more holistic representation of their character than may be found in more antiquated reputation databases.  I also think it’s important to decipher between data that is self reported, e.g. that which a user enters or provides on sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn when creating a profile or on Foursquare when checking in at a location, and that which is ‘mined’ online through the use of cookies and or other tracking mechanisms.   For context, at Demyst.Data, we focus on the former, and only that which is publicly available, and the application of such data solely for the benefit for the consumer.

It is our opinion that the ability to effectively access, analyze and deploy a person’s data creates an invariably better customer experience for the ‘goods’ of the world.  Online data provides many who otherwise would be considered ‘off the grid,’ think youths, immigrants, the un-banked and under-banked, with a mechanism to establish an asset and a dossier for which reputation laden industries can make informed decisions about such people.   Without this profile, they are essentially invisible with no access to relevant offers, no access to fair credit, and probably most importantly, no mechanism to transform and transition to being ‘on the grid’.

Curious about the information that is publicly available on you?  Look yourself up for a sampling.  If you don’t like what you see or feel as if your online footprint is not actually representative of the information you have provided to some of our partner sites, you can always opt out of our database by clicking here.

Why data transparency is good for ‘rejected’ customers.

January 8, 2012












If you’ve ever read our blog or navigated our site, you’ve likely seen the phrase, ‘removing information asymmetries’.  If you’ve sat through a meeting with us, you’ve been lectured on how data transparency can benefit the consumer.  Let me try to connect the dots.

 Asymmetric information refers to a situation in which one party in a transaction has more or superior information compared to another. Economist George Akerloff publicized the problems of asymmetric information in his 1970’s paper discussing the ‘market for lemons’ in the used car industry. He explained that because a buyer cannot generally ascertain the value of a vehicle accurately, he/she would be willing to pay only an average price for it. Knowing in advance that the ‘good sellers’ are going to reject this average price, the buyer removes the aforementioned ‘lemon seller’s advantage’ by adjusting downward the price they are willing to pay.  In the end, the average price isn’t even offered, only the ‘lemon’ price is.  Effectively, the ‘bad’ drive the ‘good’ out of the market.


A similar situation occurs in the credit markets.  Let us examine a case in which a lender is faced with uncertainty about the creditworthiness of a group of borrowers. Having to account for the bad risks, lenders are pushed to charge artificially high interest rates to cross subsidize their risk. Recognizing this and not willing to borrow at usurious rates, the good subset of creditworthy borrowers remove themselves from the credit markets.  Similar to above, the ‘bad’ have driven out the ‘good.’

This inefficient risk cross subsidization affects a large portion of the $many trillion financial services markets, and removing it will yield huge value in the coming years. The availability of information is paramount to realizing this value.  Fortunately, data today is being created at an unprecedented rate. 

At Demyst.Data, we are constructing the infrastructure and mechanisms to aggregate & analyze this data.  Our clients are working to engage the consumer to share their information and educating them on the benefits of transparency.  Together, we are removing the asymmetries necessary to draw the ‘goods’ back to the market and to help lenders make educated lending decisions.  We believe we’re engaged in a win/win game; hence, our passion, excitement, and enthusiasm about the potential value of improved information.