Vancouver-based Distill Analytics measures corporate leadership teams’ decisiveness and motivational drivers using quarterly earnings call transcripts. They generate remote psychometric profiles on how people think and what drives them to act.

An appealing start:

An unanswered question from an MBA class and a call from the Pentagon. Distill Analytics was inspired by the frustration of repeatedly hearing that executive teams impact business outcomes but that there was no way to measure it. The founders of Distill recognized tools exist in the social sciences that provide exactly this type of data and insights, and that they had the combination of skills and experience to provide them in a scalable manner.

Company highlights:

Distill analytics is growing rapidly and has achieved several milestones. These include:

  • Building a cohesive six-person team that serves the company with constant learning and development
  • Being invited as a panelist at Battle of the Quants, a quantitative hedge fund conference in London, England
  • Being listed as an Emerging Rocket company in 2018
  • Joining the Fintech Sandbox in 2018
  • Completed a contract for the Canadian Department of National Defence
  • Invited to speak at a classified conference in Ottawa

What has been your company’s biggest challenge so far:

The biggest challenge is quantifying the value and return on investment generated by the data Distill Analytics creates and sells. The impact varies based on the stock trading strategy being used by their customers, including the customer’s sophistication, trading strategy and approach, etc. To determine value, customers want a large backtest they can test against. While their current database of analysis across 450 public companies meets the evaluation needs of a set of potential customers, others require as many as 2,000 companies for evaluation. So they’re currently working hard to build the backtest required while also bringing it to market at the same time..

Reason for competing:

The opportunity to work with the mentorship team and integrate their expertise is a prize on its own for Distill Analytics. Winning the NVBC competition would be felt across a few different domains. Reputationally, Distill would benefit from the exposure and recognition. The capital would enable them to increase their business development efforts and contribute to reducing analysis time, and speeding process automation. The in-kind services will support essential professional service requirements as they scale and increase the effectiveness of their marketing efforts.

Five-year outlook:

In five years, Distill will be an established data provider to those on the cutting edge of global finance. They will have automated their current analytical metrics and be working to expand their product line to provide additional value to their customers. Their goal is to be working with more than 40 clients with annual recurring revenue in excess of $10M, providing data at close to real time.

Further information:


Ryan Cross, MBA | Founder & CEO: Ryan spent nearly a decade working for the world leading authority in remote psychometric assessment, developing tools and techniques that use textual analysis to better understand people for organizations including the Pentagon, NASA, and the Department of National Defence. Ryan has an MBA from SFU Beedie School of Business.

Caleb Buxton | Founder & CTO: Caleb is a polyglot developer with deep technical expertise, who has built and led technology teams from inception through multi-million dollar exit. Caleb has 15 years experience building novel technology products for startups building and delivering products which solve complicated business problems.

Lesley Duncan, PhD | Founder & CSO: Lesley holds a PhD in Social Psychology from the University of British Columbia. She is a trained program evaluator and spent seven years working professional market research supplier for NRG Research Group, where she was also responsible for organizational PR and content marketing campaigns.


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