Founder Focus: Using AI to help investors understand financial risk*

By Abigail Bassett, Sunstone Staff Writer 

Dr. Rein Wu, the founder and CEO of IndicatorLab in New York, is an advocate of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and quantitative equity trading. With a background in AI and deep learning, he obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Houston, where he collaborated with a fellow Ph.D. on a project involving software engineering for quantitative trading. Following his Ph.D., he joined Visa as a research scientist, where he developed a credit settlement risk model for the global risk team, which is now used worldwide to monitor credit risk of merchants. 

Wu’s early focus on financial risk prompted him to consider how people make investment decisions. He noticed the inefficiency and difficulty of aggregating and analyzing data, including news, sentiment analysis, and other financial factors. Wu believed that leveraging AI could enhance investment decision-making tailored to individuals’ risk tolerance and in February 2023, he founded IndicatorLab based on this approach. 

This summer, Wu is part of the new cohort at Lair East Labs’ accelerator in New York City. He and the rest of the cohort will spend four months learning how to scale up and increase efficiency at their businesses from experts in the field. Technical and financial support also comes from LEL’s capital partner, Sunstone Management. 

“My perspective is that AI is a very good way to automate things, and there are a lot of things in the finance world that can be automatic, including risk evaluation,” Wu said.**

IndicatorLab is an AI-driven financial information aggregator that specializes in investment strategy creation and risk analysis, offering a combination of customization, transparency, and downside protection. At its core, IndicatorLab helps investors make better financial decisions by giving them a better understanding of risk.  

Currently, the company is focused on servicing medium- and small-sized hedge funds with assets under management that range from $10 million to $1 billion. It’s also focused on supporting individual investors. Launched in February 2023, Wu says IndicatorLab already has more than 1,000 users, including some small and mid-size hedge funds and individual investors, primarily focused on crypto-currency and equities trading.  

Wu says the LEL accelerator made sense for the company because LEL’s connections in traditional finance run deep. In addition, Sunstone Management offers a great venture partnership. Together, according to Wu, the pairing offers everything from investment and scaling experience to connections to other founders and advisors and access to VCs that can help IndicatorLab grow.  

“Today, 90% of buying analysts are still working on Excel,” Wu explains. “Excel is very labor intensive, and they told me that they actually restart the program five or six times a day because there are so many plugins, and the program is just not designed to handle that many. There’s a big opportunity (with AI) in terms of how we understand the internet. We can digitalize a lot of things on the internet in a way that we can convert them into numbers. So people can know their positioning better and understand the relationship between themselves, assets, what they want to invest in, and the relationship between themselves and other peers.” 

According to the company’s material, IndicatorLab gives individual investors and hedge funds the ability to get a visual representation of historical data to help manage risk and strategically aggregate information across multiple channels, including social media and news, to help make historical data more relevant to current market conditions. 

“Our solution enables small firms to harness the data as well as the big firms do,” Wu said — essentially leveling the playing field for investors both big and small.  

“This meets my personal life goal to make some positive impact and bring some value to everyone. That’s why we decided to go the service route and use our expertise in visualization, AI, and also our passion around investments,” he said.  

For more information about IndicatorLab, go to

© Sunstone Management Inc.


About Lair East Labs 

Lair East Labs is a startup accelerator based in New York that empowers founders to expand internationally. In the first five years of operation, our portfolio companies have raised over $45 million in funding after completing the accelerator. Our program combines the best of two worlds – learn from alumni founders of top Silicon Valley-style accelerators and gain access to a network of mentors and investors with extensive experience navigating the U.S. and Asian markets. In 2019, Lair East Labs was recognized as one of the “Top 100 Accelerators Worldwide” by Crunchbase.

About Sunstone Management

Sunstone Management is a diversified private capital management firm with headquarters in Southern California that provides a range of early-stage venture capital, real estate, and fixed income to qualified and accredited investors. The firm delivers new and exciting options for economic growth through innovative public-private partnerships, making use of its unique experience across government, education, and private sectors. Identified by Financial Times as one of America’s Fastest Growing Companies three years in a row. Connect with Sunstone Management at:
LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Crunchbase | Pitchbook

*We refer to early-stage technology entrepreneurs as Founders. Information provided here is to inform about the types of small business start-ups that have been selected for participation in certain programs in which Sunstone participates. Information provided here is aspirational and there is no assurance of success. Early-stage investing comes with an inherently high degree of risk. The information provided is neither an offer to sell or an inducement to offer to buy interests in any Sunstone sponsored fund that may have invested in the Founder. 

**The application and risk of using AI as related to the federal securities regulation is currently under scrutiny.  Although there is currently no specific regulation concerning the use of AI in connection with securities recommendations, it is expected to be forthcoming. 

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