- Ideas, tools, best practices about visual storytelling with corporate data - Ideas, tools, best practices about data storytelling

Idaciti: Data Storytelling for finance is really born

Posted on Tuesday, July 15th 2014

I already talked here about Tidemark, Domo, and other emerging idea around data storytelling for corporate finance. During the last months some people worked behind the curtain from Nevada, Colorado, New York City, and even United Kingdom to prepare a really interesting new application, Idaciti.

Idaciti have been built for data storytelling in finance. It’s its main purpose and focus. Corporate finance in private companies, portfolio management in financial institutions, and even financial university courses, are targeted by Emily Huang and her team.

Idaciti is based on storyboards. A “storyboard” is a collection of cards. And each “card” includes graphics, text, images, data…

First you create cards. On each card you add data, image, text, graphics.
To create a card, you just have to select information from sources proposed by Idaciti.
Sources are: US SEC 10-K, 10-Q data, federal contracts data, US SEC Insider Trading data, US Stock data, FRED Economic Data. Data are curated by Idaciti to be coherent and compared in the same graphics.
All public companies are listed and many KPI are available. Want to create a card to compare market capitalization of Google, Apple, Microsoft, and IBM? It will be done in a dozen of clicks. You will choose the type of graphic you want (map, lines, bars…) and add comments. “The next step is to allow users to upload their own data to idaciti and be able to combine with the public data sets. We are also planning to connect to Cloud based ERP/CRM (for example, NetSuite, SalesForce, etc.) in the future. »È, explains Emily Huang.

Idaciti: Data Storytelling for finance is really born
After creating your cards, you assemble them in a storyboard: one card for title, one card to call to action, and your narration between both extremities. You can reorder cards as you want to create a new story or update the main one.

And of course, you will tell your story. You can use the published story as a support of your vocal presentation. You can browse your cards. Storyboard stays always at the top of the page, and you can jump from a card to another one; or you can choose to hide the storyboard and just navigate “PowerPoint style” linearly from card to card. You can interact with people, as each card stays interactive (if it have been programmed for that).

Stories can be published and shared on social networks. But, you don’t really “tell” the story; you let people read the story you wrote. You lose a main dimension of storytelling. It’s just storyreading.
Inside the application, you can create circles of people you want to share your stories with. It can be analysts, students, shareholders, board members…

To know a little more about Idaciti, I asked for a couple of questions to Emily Huang, co-founder of the company incorporated in December 2013.

What is Idaciti company profile? Where are you based? And where are the founders from?

Actually my company is registered in CA. I live in NV -- outside Vegas. For now. Do plan to open an office in the Bay Area later on. Besides me, there are three other employees (One in NYC, one in Denver, one in London). I also have two contractors working for us. We are a very early stage startup. The platform you have seen is built in a little bit over three months. We are an agile shop, wants to get the application to users' hands, collect feedback, iterate and make it better.

Do you plan to support the company growth by yourself, or are you searching for funds from VC’s? And what is your planned business model?

I do have a pretty detailed business model/pricing plan. I decided to first support the company myself (financially) and create the preview release. Fundraising is a full-time job; I just didn't want to spend the time raising money before we even have a viable product. I have talked to a couple VC's so far, and will engage more in August.

What about academics? One of your co-founders is coming from university; does it mean that Idaciti will target academics too?

One of the key segments for us is education. One of my co-founders is an accounting professor in NYC. She is now using idaciti as the tool to engage her students. She just demoed the system to them yesterday, and they love the application. Right now, we are offering the idaciti platform for professors/lectures to use in their classes for free. And I am planning to keep the application as close to "free" as possible for academics.

If you are interested in data storytelling in finance, don’t hesitate one second, go to and try it! You can also follow them on twitter.
For the future, I would like to see a more multimedia application. Telling a story is not just reading a story. And audio is an important part of the presentation. You should be able to add your audio comments in the storyboard and let people listen and read your story.
Narrative schema should be multidimensional. A linear narrative schema is basic, but it could be great to have buttons inside a card to jump to another part of the story. That is complex to do in PowerPoint; it should be easier in Data Storytelling tools.
As always, I would like to have both extremities of storytelling: very interactive with jump buttons; but very narrative too, with a recording of audio and “slides”, inside a video-style presentation, the audience could only run. It could be a great way to distribute stories to a large audience.
But honestly for a version 1, Idaciti team did a very great job!

I am an independent industry analyst, and author, with 20 years experience specializing in business... Know more about this author

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