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Protocol | Enterprise

Snowflake will help BlackRock clients make more sense of their data

The world's largest asset manager will use Snowflake's technology as the basis for a new addition to its Aladdin investment-management software.

Snowflake will help BlackRock clients make more sense of their data

Some of Wall Street's biggest financial services companies use BlackRock's Aladdin cloud service to manage their portfolios and analyze risk.

Image: lo lo

There are meme stonk traders, and then there are BlackRock customers. Those in the latter category will soon be able to use a new data management cloud service built in partnership with Snowflake, the first such collaboration deal struck by the data warehousing darling.

Some of Wall Street's biggest financial services companies use BlackRock's Aladdin cloud service to manage their portfolios and analyze risk. Modern professional investors have a voracious appetite for data that can inform their decisions, and need a sophisticated service that can quickly gather, sort and process reams of investment data, said Sudhir Nair, managing director and global head of Aladdin, BlackRock's technology arm.

The partnership will allow Aladdin users to "combine the multitude of datasets that many organizations struggle to get their arms around today, and at the end of the day, just build, innovate and create analytics reporting in a way that's just much more streamlined than what they've been used to with traditional sort of data warehousing or data management capabilities," Nair said.

Snowflake's technology will underpin the Aladdin Data Cloud, which will be a new option for Aladdin customers later this year and replace the current Aladdin Data Warehouse. This will allow Aladdin users to take advantage of one of the aspects of Snowflake's technology that helped turn it into the biggest software IPO of all time: It is very easy for two Snowflake users to share data with one another, even across different companies.

Even inside sophisticated technology companies, important data tends to settle into different buckets, making it harder to mix all that data and understand the big picture. And on top of this data balkanization, every year brings a new mountain of data to add to the pile.

Financial services companies used to have distinct roles for traders, data scientists and software developers, but "the days of the separation of duties are over," said Matt Glickman, vice president of customer and product strategy for Snowflake. That means investment professionals need to be more involved with data analysis, and making it easier for companies to share data across internal departments and with external partners becomes even more important.

BlackRock is in the process of transferring Aladdin to Microsoft's Azure cloud service, Nair said, a migration that is expected to be completed over the next 18 months. Snowflake runs on all three major U.S. clouds, and customers of one cloud service can share data with Snowflake customers using other cloud services.

BlackRock is also the first company in a new "Powered by Snowflake" effort that the company hopes will bring new business and live up to the expectations set by its record IPO. Snowflake is expected to report its fourth-quarter earnings next week.

Politics

A Bloomberg-backed ‘tech co’ is building campaign tools for the left and right

The stealthy firm, which has been buying political tech firms for more than a year, is backed by Emma Bloomberg's philanthropic group.

The new firm, called Tech co., is backed by Michael Bloomberg's daughter, Emma Bloomberg.

Image: Clayton Cardinalli

A new company backed by Michael Bloomberg's daughter Emma Bloomberg has been quietly buying political tech firms and going on a hiring spree, as it seeks to create a digital organizing platform that operates "outside of a traditional 'Red/Blue' partisan paradigm."

Neither the existence of the firm, called simply Tech co. for now, nor its high-profile funder have been previously reported, though it's been up and running for at least a year. But a spate of recent job listings seeking data scientists, behavioral scientists and engineers have circulated through the insular political tech whisper mill, sparking curiosity as the startup prepares to emerge from stealth mode this spring.

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Issie Lapowsky
Issie Lapowsky (@issielapowsky) is a senior reporter at Protocol, covering the intersection of technology, politics, and national affairs. Previously, she was a senior writer at Wired, where she covered the 2016 election and the Facebook beat in its aftermath. Prior to that, Issie worked as a staff writer for Inc. magazine, writing about small business and entrepreneurship. She has also worked as an on-air contributor for CBS News and taught a graduate-level course at New York University’s Center for Publishing on how tech giants have affected publishing. Email Issie.
Sponsored Content

Building better relationships in the age of all-remote work

How Stripe, Xero and ModSquad work with external partners and customers in Slack channels to build stronger, lasting relationships.

Image: Original by Damian Zaleski

Every business leader knows you can learn the most about your customers and partners by meeting them face-to-face. But in the wake of Covid-19, the kinds of conversations that were taking place over coffee, meals and in company halls are now relegated to video conferences—which can be less effective for nurturing relationships—and email.

Email inboxes, with hard-to-search threads and siloed messages, not only slow down communication but are also an easy target for scammers. Earlier this year, Google reported more than 18 million daily malware and phishing emails related to Covid-19 scams in just one week and more than 240 million daily spam messages.

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Protocol | Fintech

PayPal wants to be an all-in-one super app. It has its work cut out.

CEO Dan Schulman sees payments, shopping, investing and budgeting all being integrated together, but he's not the only one thinking that way.

PayPal hopes its app will run your financial life. Some day.

Image: PayPal

PayPal CEO Dan Schulman thinks there are too many financial apps. So he wants to build a "super app" for consumers to manage payments, shopping, savings, investing, budgeting, crypto and identity — all in one place.

It's an ambitious undertaking still years away from actual fruition. It also highlights the multi-dimensional battle that's only just emerging between banks, fintech players like Affirm, PayPal, Square and Stripe, as well as big tech companies like Google and Apple. All these players want to be the go-to provider for consumers' finances.

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Tomio Geron

Tomio Geron ( @tomiogeron) is a San Francisco-based reporter covering fintech. He was previously a reporter and editor at The Wall Street Journal, covering venture capital and startups. Before that, he worked as a staff writer at Forbes, covering social media and venture capital, and also edited the Midas List of top tech investors. He has also worked at newspapers covering crime, courts, health and other topics. He can be reached at tgeron@protocol.com or tgeron@protonmail.com.

Transforming 2021

Blockchain, QR codes and your phone: the race to build vaccine passports

Digital verification systems could give people the freedom to work and travel. Here's how they could actually happen.

One day, you might not need to carry that physical passport around, either.

Photo: CommonPass

There will come a time, hopefully in the near future, when you'll feel comfortable getting on a plane again. You might even stop at the lounge at the airport, head to the regional office when you land and maybe even see a concert that evening. This seemingly distant reality will depend upon vaccine rollouts continuing on schedule, an open-sourced digital verification system and, amazingly, the blockchain.

Several countries around the world have begun to prepare for what comes after vaccinations. Swaths of the population will be vaccinated before others, but that hasn't stopped industries decimated by the pandemic from pioneering ways to get some people back to work and play. One of the most promising efforts is the idea of a "vaccine passport," which would allow individuals to show proof that they've been vaccinated against COVID-19 in a way that could be verified by businesses to allow them to travel, work or relax in public without a great fear of spreading the virus.

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Mike Murphy

Mike Murphy ( @mcwm) is the director of special projects at Protocol, focusing on the industries being rapidly upended by technology and the companies disrupting incumbents. Previously, Mike was the technology editor at Quartz, where he frequently wrote on robotics, artificial intelligence, and consumer electronics.

Is this a VC bubble, or just the new normal?

Huge deals, little diligence and hyper-fast follow-on rounds have become commonplace. For now.

Things are looking awful frothy, aren't they?

Photo: Drew Beamer/Unsplash

The VC industry is "frothy," "overheated" or "bonkers," investors say. Whether this is the new normal or unhealthy signs of an overheated market depends on your point of view — and how well your portfolio is doing.

There are signs that VC has changed all around. In recent months, deal sizes and valuations have spiked in hot deals; due diligence on startups has evaporated as investors compete to get into hot deals first; venture firms are investing much more than they normally do; there are hyper-fast follow-on rounds; and more non-traditional investors are backing early-stage startups.

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Tomio Geron

Tomio Geron ( @tomiogeron) is a San Francisco-based reporter covering fintech. He was previously a reporter and editor at The Wall Street Journal, covering venture capital and startups. Before that, he worked as a staff writer at Forbes, covering social media and venture capital, and also edited the Midas List of top tech investors. He has also worked at newspapers covering crime, courts, health and other topics. He can be reached at tgeron@protocol.com or tgeron@protonmail.com.

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