Danny Jachowski left Quant Trading to bring AI to insurance

Profile of Danny Jachowski, Head of AI at Acrisure

Danny Jachowski left Jump Trading in search of a new challenge.

Danny Jachowski


This story is part of a series highlighting top quantitative trading experts who left Wall Street to build startups.

To some, this might have seemed like a strange move: leaving Jump Trading, a leading name in proprietary trading, and joining a startup that didn’t even have a name.

But Danny Jachowski had his reasons. For one thing, nearly a decade of Chicago winters had worn him down, and the Maui-raised, Stanford-trained machine learning expert wanted less freezing weather.

More importantly, Jachowski was increasingly bored with the lucrative yet sisyphean world of quantitative trading and was eager to tackle something that could have a greater impact on society.

“You go there every day and solve the same problem. You try to predict where the price of X will be on a time horizon,” Jachowski said. “It just got a little stale.”

Initially, he found the work energizing. He started at Jump in 2010 as an algorithmic trader, after fellowships at prestigious machine learning labs at the University of Michigan and Stanford. While the nature of success in academic research was nebulous, Jachowski was fascinated by the rapid, real-time feedback loop of high-frequency trading.

He quit his master’s a few classes before graduating to join Jump.

“That’s what got me into trading. There’s an opportunity to measure your success in a real way,” he said. It didn’t hurt that his older brother was already working in the young trading company and could attest to that.

But after succeeding in various roles in development, research and operations, he decided in 2019 to quit and look for new challenges.

Passionate about robotics, autonomous driving intrigues him. But the stakes were high – one mistake could mean blood on your hands.

Then he signed on to an unnamed startup that would eventually be called BlueNote AI.

Based in Austin with backing from Thomas Tull, billionaire businessman and founder of film studio Legendary Entertainment, BlueNote sought to create a modern platform for pricing business insurance risk.

In theory, identifying new, more accurate risk characteristics by applying machine learning techniques to alternative data caches could yield cost savings and efficiencies. But insurance companies are heavily regulated and don’t have as many incentives to rock the boat with innovation.

They needed an AI ace, and the opportunity resonated with Jachowski.

Location? Check. Austin’s hospitable weather and startup scene fit the criteria of Jachowski and her husband, who also worked in tech.

New challenge? Check. Jachowski would need to harness the full range of statistics and engineering capabilities to help develop pricing models that outperformed insurance actuaries.

“I bought into the view that the insurance industry is outdated and there’s not much impetus to change,” said Jachowski, who joined what would become BlueNote AI early in 2020 as an artificial intelligence manager.

In the end, the company name was short-lived. BlueNote’s first client was insurance brokerage Acrisure, which liked the startup’s prospects so much that it acquired the company, along with another Tull-owned insurance subsidiary, in July 2020 after just eight months. of activity.

“They wanted to grow their tech division, and I think they saw us as a reasonable target,” Jachowski said.

As with Jump, Jachowski has taken on multiple roles with Acrisure since the takeover. More recently, he returned to his Wall Street roots, helping build portfolios of assets as head of AI at Acrisure Capital Management, a new investment advisory subsidiary.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.