This summer, the Dingman Center will be conducting interviews with the fifteen student startups who are participating in our Terp Startup summer accelerator at the College Park WeWork. Participating student entrepreneurs received a stipend up to $5,000 that would enable them to work exclusively on their startups over eight weeks in the summer.
Pendulum Analytics, Inc.
Founder & CEO: William Sherman, MBA ’19, MBA & Master of Finance
Summer Associate and Corporate Development: Mario Martinez ’19, MBA & Master of Finance
Summer Associate and Corporate Development: Wei Zhang, Post Doc, Animal Science, & UMD Tech Transfer SME
Summer Associate, Product Development, and Data Science: Huizhen Li ’19, Master of Finance
Summer Associate, Product Development, and Data Science: Hang Yang ’20, Master of Quantitative Finance
DC: Tell us about your startup. What problem are you solving and for whom?
Sherman: While we are a technology and analytics company, the aim of Pendulum Analytics is to help maintain a healthy global financial sector by strengthening the overall core business posture of individual financial service firms. We believe the benefits of a healthy financial sector will permeate through to other key stakeholders of the global economy. Stakeholders, such as individuals like you and I.
As the opportunities within the financial services domain are so vast, you may ask, what is our starting point? Mitigating the risk of transaction failures across the world. Members of our team have been subjected to the fire storm that comes with a high dollar transaction failures. The immediate and downstream impacts can be detrimental to a financial institution in a number of ways.
We endeavor to build our firm while using our strengths in technology and analytics. In addition to our strengths, we want to leverage some of the cutting edge innovations that are being created here at the University of Maryland. Mainly in effort to build and integrate a risk management center of excellence for each of our member banks.
DC: How did you first come up with your idea?
Sherman: During my undergraduate studies in computer science I was introduced to the concept of bugs. In the information technology domain, a bug, is a term used to refer to a deficiency in a piece of software or system. During my now 15 year professional career I have witnessed the outcomes of bugs first hand and the on-going negative impact they have caused when not resolved.
I have been a member of the team responsible for putting these systems in place, as well as the team responsible for fixing the bugs. No developer endeavors to implement a bug. A bug can manifest itself during the update of a system or even during the advancement of a technology. Unfortunately technology is not perfect as the people building these technologies are not perfect. Furthermore, I believe that we should want to continue to advance our society, thus, in my opinion, we shouldn’t want to slow the pace of innovation. That being said, bugs will persist.
During a great majority of my career, I have managed the transfer of transaction data between systems in different parts of the world. I have witnessed the thrill of successful transactions and the agony that a failed transaction can cause. In fixing the failures, I realized that a lot of these failures could be prevented if the appropriate risk mitigating measures were put in place. That is the origin of my idea. We want to build a risk management center of excellence, primarily through the use of technology, but to also include the critical roles and processes needed for operational efficiency.
DC: What are some major milestones you’ve achieved so far?
Sherman: Although we have been thinking through our technology and the business opportunity during the last several years, we are just getting started on our business and product development journey.
We’ve been able to discuss the transaction failure problem area with several risk management leaders from different firms. They all confirmed our initial hypothesis pertaining to the rate of which transaction fail, as well as the ramifications of a failed transaction. We’ve been able to build our minimal viable product that is prepared for client use. We’ve also been able to construct a team that is well versed in financial risk management.
We understand the importance of corporate structure. Organizing our firm for operational efficiency is important. We want to ensure that our service is prepared to serve our clients in a customer centric way.
DC: What drives you to keep going?
Sherman: I believe a great majority of Americans were negatively impacted by the financial crisis of 2009. We can certainly point a finger to as many bad actors as we can find, but I believe it boils down to the operational efficiency within financial services firms. Operational efficiency and a risk management strategy will help sustain a financially healthy institution. My drive is rooted in building a firm that will help society in a phenomenal way. This is what adds fuel to my engine to keep going.
DC: How do you feel about working in a cohort with fellow student entrepreneurs?
Sherman: It has been an excellent experience working with my fellow Terp entrepreneurs. The origin of the idea that each company has introduced adds value to society in a distinct way. I really enjoy the passion and ingenuity each founder displays during our time together. I absolutely feed off the energy that permeates during our interactions. I do believe having an opportunity to learn from each team has been most rewarding.
DC: What are you hoping to achieve during Terp Startup this summer?
Sherman: We’re striving to make substantial progress with market validation and customer acquisition during our time in Terp StartUp. We want to continue our data collection about the problem space. Our goal is to convert the firms that provide feedback in to pilot customers. As we receive and analyze the feedback, we intend to synthesize that data so to determine common themes, which may lead to feature additions and/or product enhancements.
In conclusion, we feel very strongly about building an agile culture where many aspects of the company will leverage agile and/or lean techniques. Each member of the team is valued and respected. We’re a team comprised of Terps, mostly from the Robert H. Smith School of business, where our focus has been finance, more specifically, financial risk management.