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XBRL Analytics Firm Wins Development Prize

Joseph McCafferty | March 2, 2012

Calcbench, an open source application that leverages corporate XBRL data and performs comparative analytics, was named the $20,000 Grand Prize winner of the XBRL Challenge, a contest for developers to build the most inventive and useful application leveraging XBRL-formatted data from the Securities and Exchange Commission's EDGAR database.

Calcbench was selected as the winner based on the strength of its user interface and the analytics provided which allow users to perform multi-company comparisons annually and quarter to quarter. Users can add their own notes and formulas, export to Excel and share their work with others.

"The XBRL Challenge was created both to raise awareness about XBRL and to create a new generation of tools to make it as useful and widely-adopted as possible," said Paul Ratnaraj, Director – Advanced Initiatives, at Wharton Research Data Services (WRDS) and judge for the XBRL Challenge. "Among a very strong pool of applications, the judges chose Calcbench because it offers the broadest appeal and the most comprehensive use of data with XBRL and other sources, all within a simple interface that's easy to use. It also offers a good framework on which to build other analytical tools."

Data produced in XBRL format is computer-readable which gives it greater portability, reliability, accuracy and timeliness, and can provide individual and institutional investors with better information for investment decisions.

The XBRL Challenge was launched in July 2011 and had 84 initial applicants. It was sponsored by the CFA Institute, WRDS and XBRL US. A panel of five judges was assembled to review the Challenge entries and select the winner.

Calcbench was co-founded by Pranav Ghai who is based in New York and Alex Rapp, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Calcbench's co-founders share financial services backgrounds and first met at Bates College.

"The XBRL Challenge was a tremendous opportunity for us, and our application was driven by the quest for the great unknown. New technologies always bring new possibilities. You just can't know what they are until you stumble upon them," said Pranav Ghai of Calcbench. "The best moment in the development process for us was when we realized we'd created a tool we suddenly couldn't live without."