Ziligence

A Free & Open Source Website for Financial Research

Ziligence is offline as of September 4, 2012

Ziligence is no longer an active website as of September 4, 2012.  Last week, I started a new job as a developer with an exciting startup in San Francisco.   I will not have the time to continue working on Ziligence.  However, all of my code is open sourced on GitHub.

I can be reached by email at joseph.miller422@gmail.com.

A letter from Joe to the development community

(August 20, 2012) Open sourced my 19 month project on GitHub:

Dear Community,

Click above to read more about Joe

I just recently launched Ziligence, a free site for financial research. The whole platform is open sourced on GitHub. For the last 19 months, I worked night and day to develop this website from my garage in San Francisco. The site runs an algorithm I wrote in PHP to parse SEC filing documents, aggregate the financial statements into structured datasets, and make those sets available via mySQL The process is highly complex, as SEC documents are unique, and obfuscated with jargon. Thus, my coding largely required flexibility, precision, validation, etc. All said, the technology I developed can potentially be applied elsewhere and expanded upon. You can check out the site (www.ziligence.com) or visit the public GitHub repository (https://github.com/yousef-miller). Hopefully, my work is helpful to some of you out there.

Lastly, I mind as well mention that I am currently looking for work. If anybody is looking for an entry level data engineer (PHP / mySQL), please let me know. I previously was an accountant from 2003-10, dabbled with programming in my spare time during those years, passionately built Ziligence, and now trying to start over with a new career path.

Thanks much,
Joe

Joseph Miller
miller@ziligence.com
www.ziligence.com

Ziligence is now a free open source site

Why we chose to open source our site?

Ziligence is passionate about creating a more open world.  To align our passion with our product, we are becoming a free open source project.  This pivot comes on the heels of beta testing, an ideal time to pursue this long-term commitment.  Over the next few years, we will build up an ecosystem, which will give us a great competitive edge for long run success.  The powers of social coding are enormous today, through which future site improvements and features will arise.  View our code repository on GitHub here.

Why we chose to become a free site?

Now that Ziligence operational, we have chosen to become a free provider of financial data.  For us, the most exciting things are programming, democracy, and data.  Combine those three elements, and you get what Ziligence stands to accomplish.  We are passionate about democratizing financial data, building a site by the people for the people.  Visit our site to get started today.

Ziligence concludes beta testing

Ziligence is pleased to announce the conclusion of beta testing.  Over the past 3 1/2 months, we received great feedback and new ideas from an array of professional users.  We extend our gratitude to all of our participants.  The 30-day free trial offer will always remain available for interested subscribers.

Ziligence at a glance

Target Market:            Enterprise Technologies
Market Categories:     Big Data & Analytics
Founded:                    February 10, 2011 by Joe Miller in San Francisco, CA

Brief Product Description:
Ziligence enables financial professionals to make better decisions by providing reliable data, customizable analysis, and optional crowd sourced insight.  <Watch Demo Video>

Our Big Idea:
Ziligence demonstrates that less is more when it comes to buyers paying for the financial data they need. While our competitors sell massive bundled tool chests, we provide a customizable unbundled toolset, giving buyers greater flexibility to pay for exactly what they need.  <Read More>

Market Opportunities:
People don’t just want to be given information any longer, they want engagement. Thus, we give the complete picture, all the numbers, and the right tools. The users construct their own customized analysis. Our site has a collaborative atmosphere, in which crowd sourced suggestions give guidance when needed. <Read More>

Competitors:
Legacy providers consist of FactSet, CapitalIQ, and Thomson Reuters. While they sell massive bundled tool chests, we provide a customizable unbundled toolset, giving buyers greater flexibility to pay for exactly what they need.  <Read More>

Company Background:
Throughout 2010, Joe was applying for financial analyst positions. Many companies were looking for applicants to submit a financial model. To obtain data for his models, he manually transcribed values from SEC filings into Excel worksheets. Noting the absence of an affordable data provider, he saw an opportunity, which is where Ziligence began.  <Read More>

Learn More:
View our product brochure or slide deck if you wish to learn more about us.

Ziligence releases a demo video

VIDEO SCRIPT:
I am Max, a financial analyst, which means my core job function is to build spreadsheet models. I need reliable data I can understand and customize. My firm can’t afford any of the existing subscription services, whose data sets aren’t customizable anyways. We are old fashioned and manually transpose data from SEC filing documents into our models. This method works, but is so inefficient. I have always wished for a better solution.

My friend told me to check out Ziligence, a new easy to use data provider we can actually afford. Their data sets are reliable and customizable, thus enabling me to create my own flexible analysis. The site gives the complete picture, all the numbers, and the right tools. A diverse group of professionals are already using it, like bankers, brokers, lawyers, consultants, accountants, and academics. Whenever I need help, I can get their crowdsourced suggestions, or click through to view original source documents.

Getting started is simple. I login, go to the company I want to see, edit the field mapping, and get results per my selections. Since they save my analysis, I can come back to it anytime. Even better, when new quarterly results are released, my data is automatically updated. My data is exportable right into Excel, and rolls up into a nice summary page, which I take with me into staff meetings.

Ziligence gives me even more great stuff, like analyst estimates, ownership information, mergers and acquisitions, and stock performance history. I love Ziligence, because it does everything I need and boosts my productivity. My boss is ecstatic. He proclaimed me employee of the month. Everyone uses the site now.

Ziligence is ready to disrupt

Ziligence is ready to disrupt.  We believe in open source, open communication, and an open world.  This is what we want everyone to know about us…

Describe your company in a sentence.

Ziligence enables financial professionals to make better decisions by providing reliable data, customizable analysis, and optional crowd sourced insight.

Describe your business in greater detail. What problem do you solve? How are you disruptive?

Ziligence utilizes an algorithm to capture raw content from public SEC filings and transform it into structured data with minimum latency. This information is published by filers on the SEC’s Edgar site in an inconsistent format, more suited to text than numbers. It is obfuscated with jargon and irregular line item naming. Very simply put, it is a complete mess.

Ziligence offers an immediate solution to the alternative methods, which include:

(1) A non-applicable approach: Free sites like Yahoo Finance offer generic content, which isn’t suitable for the financial profession.
(2) The least common approach: Manually transposing data from filing documents into your own spreadsheet models isn’t practical.
(3) The most common approach: Legacy providers, who provide similar content to Ziligence, charge over $1,000 a month per user.

Ziligence demonstrates that less is more when it comes to buyers paying for the financial data they need. While our competitors sell massive bundled tool chests, we provide a free customizable unbundled toolset, giving you exactly what is needed at no cost.  Financial firms are actively looking for cost saving opportunities, and we feel timing is right to seize their business.

Ziligence will reshape how financial data is utilized. People don’t just want to be given information any longer, they want engagement. Thus, we give the complete picture, all the numbers, and the right tools. The users construct their own customized analysis. Our site has a collaborative atmosphere, in which crowd sourced suggestions give guidance when needed. We offer a simple solution and immediate alternative to the legacy data providers.

List your competitors. Describe how you are different.

A truck differs greatly from a train, but they both perform the same service function for the buyer, point to point freight transportation. Ziligence is the truck and our competition, the legacy providers, are the train. Legacy providers consist of FactSet, CapitalIQ, Thomson Reuters, and Bloomberg. These firms sell heavily bundled products, delivering thousands of global databases to the largest global financial firms. Buyers lack options and are forced to pay for everything the bundle is capable of doing. Subscriptions from legacy providers typically cost $50,000/year for two user accounts, and $6,000/year for each additional one. This economy has been upheld in the absence of unbundled substitutions, until now. We offer the first free minimum viable alternative for detailed earnings and valuation data.

We are different on price, features, and customization. Our price and features are both significantly less than the competition, while nobody rivals our customization. We enable customized analysis with user defined field mapping that remains in-place across time. Further, we engage crowd sourced recommendations to assist with field mapping.

Ziligence’s processing speed is now 3x faster

Rolling Ziligence for beta testing is exhilarating, especially when announcing major improvements.  Over the past few weeks, I have been thinking about the recent sluggish performance of our server.  Tonight, it came to mind the issues didn’t have anything to do with our hardware or algorithm.  Instead, the problem was coming from our software configuration.   My epiphany will let me sleep better tonight.  First, users are happily experiencing faster loading webpages.  Second, behind the scenes, the algorithm is processing SEC filings 2x faster.  It is awesome seeing iterations completing in just 2 to 6 seconds, as opposed to 10 to 20 seconds.   Our current hardware is only medium grade, per our monetary constraint.  Thus, the high performance hardware we plan to eventually implement will yield even lass latency!!

The founding story of Ziligence

Joe Miller

In early 2011, Joe Miller began developing Ziligence while working from coffee shops and his garage in San Francisco.  He began, like many tech entrepeneurs with enormous passion, a small amount of money, and a clear vision.  After reading a quote by Larry Page about the importance of believing in audacious ideas, he was inspired to bring his idea to life.

Throughout 2010, Joe was applying for financial analyst positions amidst the Great Recession.  Many companies were looking for a financial model to be submitted in order to apply.  To obtain data for his models, he manually transcribed values from SEC filings into Excel worksheets.  Noting his frustration at the absence of an affordable data provider, he saw an opportunity.  His passion for programming would merge with his accounting skillset to develop fully automated processing for SEC filings.  Over the course of seventeen months he devoted thousands of hours to relentlessly develop his algorithm.  Today his algorithm perpetually aggregates data for all U.S. publicly traded companies.

Joe’s dream wouldn’t have been possible without the encouragement and tech wisdom given by Max Ellerhorst, a friend and IT executive in Atlanta.  Max has never turned away a phone call from Joe since the start.

Ziligence is diligence with a ‘Z’

Picking an appropriate name for a new site today is, as you know, incredibly important.  Almost every domain name containing a literal combination has been registered.  This sounds like a complaint, but it really isn’t.  Any problem like such can always be addressed with creativity and patience.  Over a several month span, I conceived actionable words that resonated with the site’s intended purpose.  There were many suitable descriptors, but none fit like ‘diligence’.  First off, I generated literal iterations of diligence, but to no avail.  Next up, I thought about how ‘z’ words carried a nice tech tone to them.  Thus, Ziligence was born (with personal fanfare) early one Sunday morning in the Fall of 2011.

About Ziligence:
Ziligence is the affordable solution for financial research, providing subscribers with web-based access to detailed earnings and valuation data for all U.S. public companies. Joe Miller founded the company in February 2011, and was released in a private beta launch on May 1, 2012.

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