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Entrepreneurship and Innovation

CJ Black

Financial Intelligence Labs and Trade Defender

Financial Intelligence Labs Logo

Trade Defender logo


Charles “CJ” Black ’16, a double major in finance and computer science, co-founded Financial Intelligence Labs with Jacob Gilman ’17 in 2015. Financial Intelligence Labs is an S corporation, which works with businesses to update, develop, and implement automated technology in their processes. The clients they have worked with include real estate, consulting, and investment management firms.

Currently, CJ and Jacob are working on another business, Trade Defender, a tiered subscription package for options trading software targeted to the retail trader. Trade Defender won the Lake Forest College Pitch It! shark tank competition in 2017, and with it over $7000 to use as seed money for the business. 

In 2015, CJ interned with the Gelber group, a Chicago-based global trading firm, and was offered a job there after graduation. He admits that was tough to turn down because he had a great experience there. “I was doing what I love, and I enjoyed the people I was working with. They were willing to pay me well for a starting position out of college, but in the end I knew that going into business for myself would be better for me long-term.

“My goal for the next five years is to grow Trade Defender into a successful independent business.”