NumFOCUS welcomes Quantopian as our first Emerging Leader Corporate Partner, a partnership for small but growing companies who are leading by providing fiscal support to our open source projects.

Quantopian Supports Open Source

by John Fawcett, CEO and founder of Quantopian





It all started with a single tweet. While scrolling through his feed, Quantopian founder and CEO, John Fawcett, noticed Wes McKinney, the creator of pandas, tweeted a plea for fundraising help. With Quantopian being a platform built on open source projects, John knew Quantopian had to get involved.

Wes McKinney tweet


“Financial services companies need to do more than simply use open source; they need to lead open source projects; they need to contribute code and resources. Otherwise, the financial community is left isolated and outside the mainstream of the software community,” said Fawcett.

As an innovator in the financial technology sector, Fawcett believes many of the best and most innovative minds stay out of finance because they can’t maintain the long-term relationship with their work that only open source allows.

“You can’t expect to be competitive in technology without connecting with the software community, and contributing to the culture. Without launching and leading open source, financial technologists risk irrelevance,” stated Fawcett.

Quantopian, which hosts a free online educational platform that allows users all over the world to create, test and get paid for their investment algorithms, has made open source software central to both the platform and the culture as well. It is ingrained in everything Quantopian does.

Quantopian engineers are the owners and maintainers of several open source projects including pyfolio (portfolio and risk analytics in Python), zipline (a Pythonic algorithmic trading library), and alphalens (performance analysis of predictive stock factors).

Quantopian also contributes to NumFOCUS sponsored projects pandas (a library providing high-performance, easy-to-use data structures and data analysis tools for the Python programming language) and PyMC3 (a Python package for Bayesian statistical modeling and probabilistic machine learning), and several other open source projects.

pandas and PyMC3

Now is the time for other companies to step up.

For too long, finance has been a net consumer of open source. Major financial institutions and startups alike continue to use major open source projects, but very few have launched new projects of any significance. That’s simply not good enough. To lead in a technological world, financial firms need to fund, maintain, and advance major open source projects of their own.

It is an ideal that every employee at Quantopian believes in. It’s been in our DNA from the very beginning.

It may have been 140 characters and not seem like much at the time, but that tweet by Wes McKinney illustrates the need for platforms, communities, and companies to help ensure pandas and other open source projects are sustainable.

Quantopian has committed to continuously help fund pandas. The Quantopian team hopes others will join in this critical mission.

Learn about the NumFOCUS Partnerships Program.