David Widerhorn

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David Widerhorn
David Widerhorn.jpg
Occupation Entrepreneur
Location Chicago
LinkedIn Profile

David Widerhorn is a serial entrepreneur, executive and engineer. He was the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Neurensic, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) regulatory technology firm offering artificial intelligence-based financial markets surveillance technology. Neurensic was acquired by Trading Technologies on October 6, 2017.[1] Before his involvement with Neurensic, he was the founder of DWC, a boutique global technology consulting firm specializing in the design and development of high-frequency trading strategies and related enterprise technologies.

In 2016, he was the recipient of the Inc. Magazine 30 Under 30 Award.[2] He has been quoted as an industry expert by the Financial Times, Reuters, Bloomberg, and others for commentary on regulatory and market surveillance issues.[3]

Early Life

Early childhood

Widerhorn was born in Los Angeles, California, as a first generation American, the son of a physician and an architect. His family ancestry comes from Austria and Italy. As a young child he moved to Fort Worth, Texas where he attended all of his K-12 schooling.

During his childhood, Widerhorn was fascinated by electronics, computer programming and astrophysics. He spent many hours designing and building electronic devices, building computers and competing in mathematics and programming competitions. At the age of 12, he founded a company that conducted independent quality assurance services for computer hardware component manufacturers.[4] He was awarded the Intel Science Talent Search Semifinalist award for his research on astrophysics, completed at the age of 15, which investigated the feasibility of multiple parallel universes by testing the Lyapunov stability of solar systems following an alternative gravitational force law.[5]

Education

After graduating from the Dunber High School for Science and Engineering Professions in Fort Worth, Texas, he moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts when he was 16 to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he received a bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, a bachelor's degree in Management Science (Finance) from the Sloan School of Business, a minor in Economics and a concentration in Women's and Gender Studies at the age of 19. He completed his thesis in natural language processing and data mining at MIT CSAIL (Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory).

Career

Early Projects

During his tenure at MIT, Widerhorn completed internships at Morgan Stanley, Jane St Capital and Citigroup. At Jane St Capital, he worked as an assistant trader on the floor of the American Stock Exchange. At Citigroup, he co-published a publication in which he described a methodology to enhance returns on the then popular foreign exchange carry trade through the use of a structured synthetic derivatives portfolio.

After graduating from MIT, Widerhorn moved to Chicago, Illinois where he worked for Chicago hedge fund firm Citadel as an Investment & Trading Analyst and TransMarket Group before founding his consulting firm, DWC, in 2009.[6] While at TransMarket Group he designed and implemented the first black-box high frequency trading desk at the firm, focused on market making short-term interest rate and US treasury futures.

DWC

Widerhorn's consulting firm, DWC, was a boutique financial technology consulting firm specializing in the design, development and deployment of high-frequency trading strategies in futures, foreign exchange and equities, and the development of ultra-low latency enterprise technologies, such as distributed risk management systems to achieve sub-millisecond brokerage account margin liquidation, trade replication technology for leader-follower systems and high performance streaming market data distribution systems. Known for its unique "hybrid consulting" model[7], where DWC used its modular Rapid Algo Deployment Framework (RADF) toolkit to implement and deploy exchange co-located trading strategies in days instead of months, Widerhorn's firm flourished by being able to reduce the cost of building high frequency desks by 90%. This culminated in Widerhorn's firm forming a strategic alliance with Melamed & Associates in 2014[8].

Neurensic

In 2015, Widerhorn, grew concerned about the growing technological divide between high frequency traders and regulators, in light of the new disruptive trading regulations and the landmark enforcements in spoofing. This motivated him to pivot his business from consulting to an artificial intelligence driven, software-as-a-service market surveillance platform[9]. The new company was called Neurensic which Widerhorn founded, along with several other co-founders, to use artificial intelligence technology to identify behaviors that could threaten a firm’s wellbeing and prevent that firm, bank or broker from incurring regulatory actions that trigger hefty fines.[10]

Neurensic, part of the Plug and Play FinTech accelerator[11], raised approximately $8.5 million in total [12] from a group of private and institutional investors which it invested in bringing its platform to market with offices in Silicon Valley and Chicago. Soon after, Widerhorn described the significance of machine learning as an aid in complying with new regulations in a co-authored publication in Market Voice magazine[13]. Utilizing concepts and models designed by Widerhorn and led by Silicon Valley machine learning expert and former CTO of H2O.ai, Dr. Cliff Click[14], Neurensic's technology team brought to market it's machine learning based trade surveillance system, Score, in 2017. While Widerhorn refused to discuss any involvement with government agencies, it was reported by Bloomberg in late 2016, that Neurensic had been contracted by the Commodity Futures and Trading Commission(CFTC)'s enforcement division to investigate criminal cases. [15]. The firm was subsequently acquired by Trading Technologies in October 2017.

Awards and Recognition

Inc Magazine 30 Under 30

In 2016, he was a recipient of the Inc. Magazine 30 Under 30 Award for his work on Neurensic.[16]

Other Awards

Widerhorn was named an Intel Science Talent Search Semifinalist in 2004 for his astrophyics research. [17]

His firm Neurensic was one of the 20 companies selected for the FIA Innovation Award for 2015. [18]

Personal Life

Interests

Widerhorn is a long-time member (since 2005) of the Academy of Model Aeronautics and avid model aviation builder and pilot. He is also a former powerlifter and former Massachusetts record holder in the American Drug Free Powerlifting Federation for the deadlift (2008). He is a member of the American Sailing Association (ASA), holding multiple certifications, as well as the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI).

References

  1. Trading Technologies Acquires AI Surveillance Platform Neurensic. Finance Magnates.
  2. Inc Magazine 30 Under 30. Inc Magazine.
  3. Regulators use Silicon Valley's AI to catch rogue traders. Financial Times.
  4. An MIT graduate at 19, Neurensic's founder uses AI to shut down bad trading algorithms. Built In Chicago.
  5. Intel STS Semifinalists Book. Intel.
  6. Inside One Chicago Startup’s Plan to Target Spoofers. Crain's via Neurensic.
  7. Hybrid Consulting. Advantage Futures.
  8. Melamed & Associates Forms Strategic Alliance with David Widerhorn Consulting. PR Newswire.
  9. Neurensic's David Widerhorn On Starting His First Company At 12. Inc. Radio.
  10. One Step Ahead: Can Silicon Valley Help Compliance?. John Lothian News.
  11. Six blockchain startups make it to Plug and Play Fintech’s fourth batch. EconoTimes.
  12. Crunchbase Neurensic Profile. Crunchbase.
  13. A New Type of Tool for a New Type of Rule. Market Voice.
  14. Neurensic Appoints Dr. Cliff Click. Business Wire.
  15. Hunting for Dirty Deeds in the $34 Trillion U.S. Futures Market. Bloomberg.
  16. Inc Magazine 30 Under 30. Inc Magazine.
  17. Intel STS Semifinalists Book. Intel.
  18. FIA announces final twelve companies selected for Innovators Pavilion. Futures Industry Association.