Richard Craib, founder of Numerai, pays a legion of anonymous data scientists with bitcoin to build machine learning models on his encrypted dataset. Craib doesn't know the programmers' identities, and they don't know the encrypted details of his data - but his bet is that the "blind can lead the blind" to build a better hedge fund. Union Square Ventures recently led their $6m Series A.
Numerai’s fund has been trading stocks for a year. Though he declines to say just how successful it has been, due to government regulations around the release of such information, he does say it’s making money. And an increasingly large number of big-name investors have pumped money into the company, including the founder of Renaissance Technologies, an enormously successful “quant” hedge fund driven by data analysis. Craib and company have just completed their first round of venture funding, led by the New York venture capital firm Union Square Ventures. Union Square has invested $3 million in the round, with an additional $3 million coming from others.