Amit Gupta : Co-Founder
Solves problems at every level
from nanometers to terabytes
Amit has been using technology and mathematics to solve staggering problems and create unique opportunities for more than 20 years. After getting his PhD from Northwestern University, Amit went to work for Goldman Sachs, building their capacity in algorithmic trading. Next, Amit designed and developed a high-frequency trading system to trade futures and equities. Finding profits in the ultra-competitive, fast-paced trading sector required using mathematics and technology to model and manage intense amounts of data. Now, Amit shares his data-engineering expertise with clients across the spectrum of sectors.
Custom solutions for data-intensive businesses
The biggest challenge to solving any problem is to find the right references. I can find technical solutions to almost any problem. Solutions present themselves, when you take the time to really care about the problem.
Amit co-founded Sofritek to be able to offer clients the latest in big-data technologies without the massive overhead and costs normally associated with leading-edge data engineering. Amit’s entire career focus has been on data-intense, highly technical systems from financial services to telecom. He partnered with a long-term friend (Viral Shah) and brought aboard a tech whiz he knew from his days in financial services to form Sofritek (originally Consilience in the U.S.) to offer faster, affordable, custom solutions for the financial and telecom industries. The firm’s big-data platform is being used by one telecom client to process over 800 million records daily (more than one and a half terabytes of data), reducing their turn-around time from a few days to less than 15 minutes.
Nanometers to terabytes
Amit has his bachelor’s and PhD in Chemical Engineering. That may seem like strange preparation for a career in data engineering, but not to Amit. “The challenge is that companies now have terabytes of data and struggle to get it from point A to point B quickly, while making it highly usable.” Most Chemical Engineers go to work in the energy and oil sectors, where it’s the same challenge but with molecules. “We used advanced mathematics and computer modeling to simulate and solve problems in Chemical Engineering. My thesis was basically a computer simulation with nanometer-sized pores to predict the reactions of molecules under different catalysts.”
Amit’s first employer, Goldman Sachs, knew those were the skills they needed to develop algorithmic and high-frequency trading platforms. They needed math whizzes with computer modeling skills to jumpstart automated trading. Amit worked on solving the technical challenge of pulling data from multiple silos to get it flowing as quickly and efficiently as possible to enable this transformation in the financial services sector.
Expert in real-time, robust systems
Amit was a pioneer in algorithmic trading, developing some of the early models for trading equities. The equity desk at Goldman was responsible for executing tens of thousands of orders daily. Amit was responsible for creating the data analytics and reporting framework, using it to monitor, manage and enhance trading strategies. Over the course of less than three years, the desk saw a ten-fold increase in order flow.
Amit left Goldman to join a proprietary trading start-up called STAT Capital. As a partner at STAT, Amit was responsible for designing and developing a high-frequency trading system for automated trading of futures. STAT traded over 5% percent of the Dow Jones futures volume per day and had 100% profitable months over a period of five years. STAT was acquired by Wolverine Trading, one of the biggest options market-makers in the country. At Wolverine, Amit continued to develop new strategies and oversaw the expansion of the trading system (responsible for trading millions of orders a day) to new asset classes.
Quick turnaround in complex environments
Amit’s entire career focus has been on data-intense, highly technical systems from financial services to telecom. Looking ahead, sectors like healthcare and government are ready for the most advanced levels of data engineering to solve problems and create new opportunities. “My focus is where there’s tons of data – critical data – and where robust applications and quick turnaround are required. These skills and experiences apply to all kinds of businesses, especially those that need to manage large data stores to derive intelligence.”
Eliminate pain points stat
If Amit has superpowers, they are open-mindedness and empathy. He hates it when technologists dictate to clients, preferring to treat their challenges with an open mind. He devotes himself to seeking out the best solutions, as well as quick wins and immediate ROI. “You have to really immerse yourself in their questions and challenges. I think it’s important to really understand the long-time issue but also deliver something usable as quickly as possible. Alleviate some pain right away; then, then you can adapt the solution to their evolving needs.”
Getting to know Amit:
Q: How do you pronounce your name?
A: Ah – mitt
Q: Best recent read
A: The Ocean of Churn by Sanjeev Sanyal (part of my recent history kick)
Q: Favorite place to travel
A: Park City, Utah, for the skiing and hanging out
Q: Favorite dish/meal to cook
A: Nothing beats a good omelet for breakfast
Q: If you weren’t doing this, you would…
A: be cooking…
Q: Something difficult you’ve had to do…
A: Be a teaching assistant in thermodynamics to undergrads at Northwestern!
Last, but not least:
“James Thurber’s ‘Many Moons’ children’s story is how I like to look at my job. Sometimes problems aren’t as insurmountable as we first suppose. In the story, Princess Lenore is ill, and she won’t eat or drink anything. She says she wants the moon – only having the moon will make her well. The King asks all his advisers how he can get her moon. They all come up short. But, the court jester takes a different approach. He asks the princess “how big is the moon… what does it mean to you…” Her ideas made her seemingly impossible demand easy to accommodate, after all. My job is to know what the moon means to each of my client’s. I enjoy understanding problems from their perspectives and being a partner in trying to solve them.