Questions you should be asking to future-proof your investment strategy

Jan 25, 2022


Cooper Fairbanks

Jan 25, 2022

Mobile Data Specialist

Last week, Jonathan Kay, (Apptopia Founder and CEO) sat down with Donald D’Amico (General Counsel, Neudata) Marc Zwillinger (Founder and Managing Member, ZwillGen PLLC) and Jeffrey Wechselblat (General Counsel, Lone Pine Capital LLC.) to discuss the state of the alternative data industry, and insights for the year moving forward.

2021 was an especially interesting year for the alternative data industry, as the rumblings of regulators echoed across the landscape. Below is a recap of the topics that were discussed, complete with specific questions compliance officers and investors should be asking potential data partners in order to future-proof their investment strategy. You can watch the full panel discussion here.


How should alternative data buying behavior change as a result of the SEC new regarding another mobile data provider?

To be candid, buyers need to do their homework and not google the answers or copy off a classmate, but really dive into a few things and ask questions like:

  • Has your data collection methodology changed? Do you, or have you ever, leveraged consumer facing panel data?
  • How has the SEC news affected your legal team? Are they busier now? Are lawyers more involved with your day to day operations?
  • Would your legal team eagerly hop on the phone with mine?

We can all read DDQs, but is your current mobile data provider eager and willing to talk about compliance? If they aren't, it might be time to take your business elsewhere.


How did the SEC investigation into another mobile app data provider affect Apptopia?

This news was a wake up call for some, but a reassurance for Apptopia. We believe that we have had, and still continue to have one of the most comprehensive compliance programs in our industry. And as a result of this confidence we have been eager to talk with whomever about its details.

Moving forward the SEC wants to see the sweat behind compliance. How is Apptopia handling this exactly? Our comprehensive Due Diligence Questionnaire (DDQ) is sent to every client as well as potential clients. This DDQ is aggregated from hundreds of clients and is borderline exhaustive. We want to talk about compliance. And we want to do so in language that everyone can understand. Muddling details in technical language helps nobody— so making sure that everyone is on the same page is the responsibility of those who know the most about the industry.

You can read this article written by our founder on our data collection methodology, which further explains how our business has been able to achieve such accurate estimates without collecting user/device level data.


Does the responsibility of compliance solely fall on the providers?

Absolutely not. It takes a village. As compliance becomes increasingly complex, regulation becomes more challenging.


How can data buyers be better informed and more strategic?

Consider these questions as you evaluate different datasets:

  • Does the provider use panel data?
  • What does compliance look like at the leadership level?
  • Historically speaking, what is the provider's relationship with compliance?
  • Does the provider have any supporting documentation or materials related to compliance?


Moving forward, what is changing?

Industrywide, legal teams will become more and more involved. Gone are the days of quick and easy compliance conversions for smart buyers and providers. Luckily, Apptopia loves compliance and we are eager to discuss this with anyone (client or not). In fact, we’ll be talking more about it during an upcoming fireside chat with Integrity Research.

Strong compliance practices at face value are better for us and for our clients. But it goes beyond that. Compliance is built into our DNA. Our data collection methodology has prioritized responsibility and sustainability since day one. When Apptopia was founded back in 2011, we knew this route was not going to be quick and easy. But it’s one that was well worth it, especially in light of the news.

We could not be more excited or willing to talk about the integrity and sustainability of our data. Building our data set the right way has been a slow labor of love, but it’s one we take great pride in. So to get back to the question, not much is changing. This news simply was a wake up call to those providers acting irresponsibly.

To learn more about Apptopia, and how we help our clients gain premier mobile intelligence, click here.

Watch our full discussion on data compliance
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Cooper Fairbanks

Mobile Data Specialist