Turning Engineers into “Quants”

By Karla Amador

Jean Bredeche is the Chief Technology Officer and Co-founder of Quantopian, an online community and platform centered around quantitative trading. Quantopian gives users industrial-strength tools to build quantitative trading algorithms. If an algorithm is licensed by Quantopian for its investment purposes, the author is paid a portion of its net profits.

Quantitative trading involves analyzing large volumes of data and identifying trends with mathematical formulas called algorithms. Traditionally, this was restricted to financiers, bankers, researchers, and Ph.D.s., but Bredeche is hoping to change all that.

“We built the tools that researchers would need and made them free for everybody on the internet,” he said.

The result is a platform which offers its users the opportunity to cash in on their ability to write algorithms which best predict the behavior of the market, along with educational resources such as lectures, workshops, tutorials, and a forum where users called “Quants” get to discuss topics and share ideas.

When asked what he would change if he could do it all over again, he said without hesitation: “I would be a little bit more disciplined about focus.”

Startups have a tendency to be faced with a million ideas, he explained, but the challenge lies in identifying those worth working on.

When it comes to company culture, his philosophy boils down to this: “Our goal is to make this the place for people to make the best work in their lives.”

With a knack for technical details, Bredeche is passionate about finding practical solutions to complex problems, like building a product that is both easy to use and powerful. Behind his humble personality, he has high expectations for himself and others and is dedicated to delivering a quality product that exceeds the user’s expectations.

As for diversity, two things come to Bredeche’s mind, which are to diversify the candidate pool by reaching out to diverse candidates outside of the job boards and to encourage women and people of color to study engineering at the high school and college levels.