As an observer of both the Quantopian and QuantConnect backtesting and algorithmic trading platforms, it’s interesting to see how they’re gradually coming to resemble each other. Quantopian, of course, is backed by GETCO and Spark Capital and is implementing new features rapidly, so it would appear to have the upper hand in financing. It also has a partnership with Upgrade Capital to discover emerging talent. Meanwhile, QuantConnect seems to be just now raising funds, but is starting to get noticed, and has a partnership with battle-fin.com to unearth young guns. Another major difference is Quantopian’s use of the Python programming language in its IDE, and QuantConnect’s use of C#. That’s good for broad market reach, as each language has its own following (for instance, my own programming skills are primitive, but I have some familiarity with C# and no knowledge of Python). On the other hand, perhaps each site could offer a lower tier subscription with a language-independent REST API to allow traders to send signals for routing and execution. The backtesting functionality is nice, but I believe there is a whole market out there for a webservice to trade with Interactive Brokers and cut the cord to the desktop. This would simultaneously address the concerns of those who aren’t ready to host the source code of their strategies on Quantopian’s or QuantConnect’s servers.
They both plan on executing through Interactive Brokers, which makes sense given its reasonable prices and broad retail market reach. Covestor‘s done it, but in speaking with the managers of several autotrading sites, Interactive Brokers is not an easy partner to deal with.
Best of luck to both companies. I look forward to writing a review of each when time permits. Provided I get around to learning some Python first.
Update 5/16/13: Forexthink.com also has a nice overview of QuantConnect. I am especially interested in this part:
Looking further ahead, the firm has plans to set up a hedge fund based around the most successful managers, marketing individual strategies to retail investors via online brokerages, and packaging the best algorithms as an exchange-traded fund.
I could be wrong, but I seem to remember in a previous iteration of QuantConnect, they intended to serve as a sort of exchange to connect aspiring quants with investors looking for alternative investment strategies (thus.. QuantConnect). It seems that they have not given up on that goal long-term, but are working on the basic technology implementation for now. Interestingly, this also now puts them in the same arena as Currensee, which has set up its own fund of leading traders. Let’s see if Quantopian follows suit now that it’s enabled live trading on its platform.