Fintech Startup Quovo, Led by Harvard Grads, Expands Into MA

2/24/14Follow @jpruth

Financial data can be downright awkward and wonky to deal with.

The challenge is not just that there is a lot of information to work with, says Quovo CEO Lowell Putnam. Data taken from different sources might not even look similar. For example, he says, market data and transaction data are not always put together the same way.

To clear up the confusion for financial advisors, Quovo in New York has developed software that cleans up financial data and produces financial analytics.

After operating under private beta, Quovo is opening up about its plans. The startup recently announced it closed on $1.4 million in a Series A funding round led by Long Light Capital.

And earlier this month, the startup said it opened an office in Amesbury, MA. While New York is an obvious hub for the financial world, Putnam says Quovo is especially interested in finding customers in Massachusetts.

He and co-founder Niko Karvounis are Harvard University grads and hope to expand the business in their old stomping grounds.

Quovo’s online portfolio management software is designed to assist wealth management advisors and foundations that do not have the IT resources of bigger institutions. Large firms typically hire lots of staffers, Putnam says, and they buy different pieces of software to do similar work. “If you’re willing to spend $500,000 per year in manpower and software, you can probably get something that approximates aggregated data,” he says, referring to financial information gathered from different sources and put into a more digestible form. “There’s a very small group that can afford to do that.”

Karvounis says Quovo gives wealth managers a holistic way to see their clients’ portfolios, including assets they don’t directly work with. That way managers can point out possible ways to improve the performance of investments, he says.

Originally the Quovo team planned to just offer insights on investment data from different sources, Putnam says. The trouble was that no single place had all the information they needed. “We realized no one was making that kind of technology even possible,” he says. “No one was doing data aggregation properly or data normalization.”

That led to Quovo’s development. Putnam says the startup has been around for about three-and-a-half years. He says the needs of advisors at smaller shops usually go ignored by the large software providers, who focus on much larger enterprises. “Most advisors are small or medium size and trying to grow,” Putnam says. “Most endowments are small and can’t afford a big solution.”

Quovo is not just for the little guys though. Putnam says his company has been approached by larger institutions, such as private banks and high-net-worth advisory shops, about its software. “They didn’t have a way to pull everything together into one place, and make it client or advisor-friendly,” he says.

If Quovo catches on, Putnam believes it can alleviate the hassle many wealth advisors face cobbling together statements and spreadsheets by hand to track investment activity. “They really need a platform that pulls all the pieces together,” he says, “without creating more work.”

João-Pierre S. Ruth is the editor of Xconomy New York. He can be reached at jpruth@xconomy.com and followed on Twitter @jpruth. Follow @jpruth

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