Our latest guest of KAPTÁR Success Stories is András Sali, the lead data scientist of Alphacruncher.
Hi András, thank you for accepting our invitation!
Hello Bálint, thank you for inviting me!
Could you please summarize in a few sentences what Alphacruncher does?
With pleasure! We usually say briefly that “Alphacruncher is the platform for scientific research”.
To explain this a little, we position ourselves between the consultants and the software developers. We say that we offer individual solution packages, which includes our similarly individual market knowledge and experience.
What are the current projects?
We work on two really exciting projects at the moment.
One is an education-related software, which they use to teach various complex finance and economy terms in a way that it’s not necessary to code a lot.
This will be way more complex than the video online trainings, which are popular nowadays. First of all, because the teacher is there, live on the other side, answering questions, reacting to the students’ comments, and solving various tasks with them in real-time…
And the other one?
The other software gets developed for researchers. We are planning a platform where they can connect all kinds of data and make calculations with them. Therefore their work gets much easier and later it can be utilized in education as well.
This is very important because data itself is a very expensive product. The researching universities spend tens of millions of Forints yearly on them. To stay in the field of finance, this kind of data can be for example historical share prices or any other kind of financial index that researchers want to work on with.
Our solution will help to increase the chance to introduce this data in education. Since the data is expensive, mostly only a part of researchers gets permission to buy such an amount..
Usually, the researcher who spent the money on the data does the work, which then gets forgotten before anyone in the university even saw it… And then there’s a new enthusiastic professor, who wants to use it in his lectures, but he doesn’t even know about its existence…
Is there a special reason why the academic sector is so important to you?
Many of our team has past there – including me. I got my PhD in the field of finance at a university in Switzerland.
It’s funny, everyone of Alphacruncher started out as a student of my consultant… It was his idea that this could turn into a business.
First, he saw what ridiculous amounts of money universities spend on data, on own servers… They had to hire someone who operates the whole system, which becomes obsolete after two years… This was the first time he thought “I’m sure, this can be done better…”. This is how the concept of Alphacruncher was born in the head of our CEO Alexandru.
Wait a second… How did you get to Switzerland for your PhD?
This was in 2010. I was already together with my wife, but we didn’t want to go to America… we didn’t wanna go so far away from Hungary.
We “discovered” Switzerland, where the universities had good scholarships and we could both go together. So we decided to do it. I graduated at the University of Lugano.
If my information is correct, you also have a child. Do you have any strategy to maintain a good work-life balance?
Yes, I have a two-year-old son, Matyi.
My strategy is to try keeping fixed work hours. Of course, sometimes it’s not possible due to deadlines or urgent stuff, but usually, I can stick to it and this helps a lot.
The hardest part about this is that I really love what I do. And I ponder a lot. Often I catch myself thinking about solutions for current work issues “outside the work hours”.