Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Developer team behind Calcbench takes top prize with open source app

NEW YORK, Feb. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Calcbench, an open source application that consumes 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.”

More information about the contest and links to the XBRL Challenge finalists can be found at A white paper describing the XBRL Challenge can be found at:

About CFA Institute
CFA Institute is the global association for investment professionals. It administers the CFA and CIPM curriculum and exam programs worldwide; publishes research; conducts professional development programs; and sets voluntary, ethics-based professional and performance-reporting standards for the investment industry. CFA Institute has more than 108,000 members, who include the world’s 99,000 CFA charterholders, in 135 countries and territories, as well as 135 affiliated professional societies in 58 countries and territories. More information may be found at

Wharton Research Data Services (WRDS) is the leading, comprehensive, internet-based data research service used by academic, government, non-profit institutions, and corporate firms. WRDS provides the user with one location to access over 200 terabytes of data across multiple disciplines, such as Finance, Marketing, and Economics. WRDS provides flexible data delivery options, including a simple but powerful web query method, and provides researchers with the ability to reduce their research time and execute strategy development on the powerful WRDS Cloud. Developed in 1993 to support faculty research at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, WRDS has since evolved to become the leading business intelligence tool for a global research community of 30,000 users at over 300 institutions in 27 countries.

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania — founded in 1881 as the first collegiate business school — is recognized globally for intellectual leadership and ongoing innovation across every major discipline of business education. The most comprehensive source of business knowledge in the world, Wharton bridges research and practice through its broad engagement with the global business community. The School has 5,000 undergraduate, MBA, executive MBA, and doctoral students; more than 9,000 annual participants in executive education programs; and an alumni network of 88,000 graduates.

XBRL US is the non-profit consortium for XBRL business reporting standards in the U.S. and it represents the business information supply chain. Its mission is to support the implementation of XBRL business reporting standards through the development of taxonomies for use by U.S. public and private sectors, with a goal of interoperability between sectors, and by promoting XBRL adoption through marketplace collaboration. XBRL US has developed taxonomies for U.S. GAAP, credit rating and mutual fund reporting under contract with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

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