The buy side’s big bet on cloud: Here’s how firms like Point72, Blackstone, and Millennium are leveraging the tech to their advantage

banks and public cloud providers 4x3
The buy side is embracing the public cloud.

  • Buy-side firms are increasingly looking to migrate workloads to the public cloud.
  • Some view the move as a recruiting tool, while others hope to cut costs and increase compute power.
  • Here’s an inside look at six firms’ strategies when it comes to the public cloud.

The buy side is aiming for the clouds.

Top hedge funds, investment firms, and private-equity shops are turning to public clouds managed by Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and IBM.

Specific motivating factors for the switch varies at individual firms, but a common theme among nearly all of them is the realization that the public cloud is a more cost-effective option than physical data centers.

The migration of buy-side firms to the cloud comes as providers are increasingly targeting Wall Street with finance-specific offerings. Firms are also picking one public cloud as a preferred or primary partner.

Insider spoke to tech executives at the top firms on the buy side to understand their cloud strategy. Here’s how they’re approaching the tech migration, and the benefits they’re already realizing from the move.


Stephen Mock's head shot
Stephen Mock, principal and co-chief technology officer, AQR.

Moving workloads and data to the public cloud is a big tech lift for any firm. But for $137 billion quantitative investment manager AQR, it was a welcome one.

Quantitative research is the bread and butter of AQR, a value-oriented investment manager that typically takes a longer-term view on its portfolio. As with other quantitative funds, that means access to readily-available financial and economic data – and lots of it – is paramount.

And while transitions to the public cloud carry an up-front cost, more financial firms are embracing the value they see in the cloud relative to on-premise data storage.

But for AQR, a move to the cloud was approached much the same way it handles investing: meticulous planning and research.

Inside $137 billion quantitative manager AQR’s shift to the public cloud that will see it cut costs as much as 30%


John Stecher Blackstone
Blackstone’s John Stecher.

As firms across Wall Street embrace public and hybrid cloud strategies to boost their tech prowess, one private investing giant is looking to Amazon Web Services.

John Stecher, Blackstone’s chief technology officer, told Insider the private-equity giant is in the midst of a “firm-wide initiative” to migrate much of Blackstone’s technology operations to Amazon Web Service’s public cloud by roughly the end of this year.

“We want to be able to use best-of-breed hardware and software programming models that AWS gives you to be able to deliver features and function at the speed that the business needs and that our engineers are truly capable of,” Stecher told Insider.

Blackstone is migrating to AWS public cloud by year end. The private-equity giant’s CTO explains what prompted the move.


Albert Bauer Citco
Albert Bauer is a managing director for Citco.

There’s big cloud-migration projects, and then there’s Citco.

The fund administration giant, with $1.6 trillion in assets under administration, took 18 months to migrate $1 trillion of those assets – from more than 550 hedge funds and other clients that total 10,000 accounts – from physical data centers to the cloud.

Hosted on Amazon Web Services, these accounts now have a more streamlined administration of their portfolios, and access to different tools Citco has built out on the cloud, such as a software-as-a-service tool that helps managers with Treasury functions.

$1 trillion in assets, now all on the cloud: Inside Citco’s 18-month transition from physical data centers to AWS


izzy Israel Englander
Millennium Management founder Israel Englander.

As the war for talent rages among hedge funds, one firm is using technology as a key value prop for recruitment and retention.

Millennium Management, the New York-based hedge fund founded by billionaire Israel Englander with $52.3 billion of assets under management, is investing in cloud technology to stand out among hedge funds.

Michael Brams joined the firm in 2016 to help build out Millennium’s cloud capabilities. The first production use case, a large-scale data analytics tool set for compliance, went live in late 2017.

The firm saw how much faster its employees could test new tools and datasets using the cloud, which led it to invest more in the tech.

Millennium is using AWS to attract top portfolio managers. Here’s how the $52 billion hedge fund is leveraging cloud tech.


Point72 founder Steve Cohen.

Point72 is in the midst of a sweeping, multi-year overhaul to transform the $21.8 billion hedge fund into a cloud-first operation.

The five-year project, which is slated to wrap at the end of 2024, is aimed at migrating 70% to 80% of the hedge fund’s cloud-eligible applications to the new tech. Currently, 20% of this work has been completed.

The $21.8 billion fund is also re-architecting its entire tech stack; building out a team of at least 60 cloud engineers, infrastructure coders, and application developers; and solidifying a hybrid, multi-cloud strategy, Mark Brubaker, the chief technology officer, told Insider.

Steve Cohen’s Point72 is betting big on the cloud. The $21.8 billion hedge fund’s CTO takes us inside its five-year project.

Two Sigma

David Siegel Two Sigma
David Siegel, cofounder and co-chairman, Two Sigma Investments.

Two Sigma had a big problem in 2014: the compute power needed for the quantitative fund’s research workflows was 10 times greater than what its data centers could provide.

“We said, ‘You know what, we’re not going to build out a 10x physical presence. That’s just enormous, that feels wrong to us,” Camille Fournier, Two Sigma’s head of platform engineering, told Insider.

As a quantitative fund, the problem was particularly salient for Two Sigma. Quant funds rely on mathematical and computer-based modeling to make their bets in the market, meaning their demand for computer firepower can often be enormous. Two Sigma, founded by billionaires John Overdeck and David Siegel, is known for pushing the limit on computing and data usage, even amongst its fellow quant peers.

Instead of building more physical data centers, the decision was made to push the fund into the public cloud.

Inside Two Sigma’s cloud strategy: hundreds of new engineers, a multi-provider approach, and ‘tremendous savings’

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Meet the millennial and Gen Z founders dressing Jill Biden, opening NFT art galleries, and raising millions in funding

"Star, Rising" with the world map behind it on a blue background with faint glowing stars scattered around.
“Star, Rising” is a series highlighting early entrepreneurs and businesses.

  • Insider’s series Star, Rising highlights early-stage entrepreneurs and companies who are gaining popularity.
  • So far, Insider has profiled founders all over the world who are innovating their respective industries.
  • Here are the 15 burgeoning business owners in Insider’s Star, Rising series.

The pandemic spurred a new wave of entrepreneurship, prompting people to start their own companies, and that doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

The US saw 4.3 million new business applications in 2020-a 24.3% increase from 2019-and 3.8 million so far this year, according to the US Census Bureau. That’s in addition to the rise in hustle culture, as the gig economy grows and social media paves way for more virtual shops and accessible marketplaces. In particular, many millennials and Gen Zers are disrupting the industries they work in as they find their place in the protean landscape of entrepreneurship.

With so much change, it can often be hard to track the new innovators seeking to redefine the world around them. That’s why Insider has started profiling them in its series Star, Rising, which explores how these entrepreneurs built their businesses, who they call mentors, and what advice they would give others looking to follow in their footsteps.

So far, the series has introduced Oladosu Teyibo, who is sourcing African talent for his software company to increase representation in tech, and. Sharmadean Reid, who launched a female-centric financial news publication to educate the rising crop of entrepreneurs. Here are the 13 other burgeoning founders in Insider’s Star, Rising series.

Sharmadean Reid’s new business aims to empower entrepreneurial women.

Sharmadean Reid
Sharmadean Reid

Reid is the founder of The Stack World, a female-centric financial publication that aims to be the stepping stone between Cosmopolitan and The Financial Times. Based in London, the outlet is on track to hit 10,000 subscribers by next year and has more than 420,000 followers on Instagram.

In 2019, Reid raised nearly £4 million ($5.5 million) in a funding round led by Index Ventures for BeautyStack and has since rebranded and expanded the platform into The Stack World’s marketplace. That milestone made her one of 10 Black female entrepreneurs in the UK who’s raised venture capital between 2009 and 2019.

Two Gen Zers turned a $2,000 investment into an art gallery that sells $600K pieces. They want to usher in a new generation of art collectors.

Alexis de Bernede (L) and Marius Jacob (R)
Alexis de Bernede (R) and Marius Jacob (L))

Based in France, Alexis de Bernede and Marius Jacob are the founders of Darmo Art gallery. This summer, their two shows netted six figures each, and they are now planning future exhibitions in Paris, the French Riviera, and at the Grand Hotel Heiligendamm, an exclusive report in Germany.

The millennial founder of a software company on track to net seven figures this year is fostering Africa’s rising tech stars.

Oladosu Teyibo stands wearing a black shirt in the middle of the street smiling
Oladosu Teyibo

Oladosu Teyibo is the founder of Analog Teams, a software development company focused on hiring talent from underrepresented communities. The company is on track to net seven figures in revenue this year and has already expanded into six African countries, including Kenya, Ghana, and Nigeria.

Hogoè Kpessou worked as an Uber Eats driver before she launched her handbag brand last year. Now she’s on track to net seven figures.

photo of Hogoè Kpessou
Hogoè Kpessou

Luxury designer Hogoè Kpessou is best known for her backpacks emblazoned with a gold bumblebee. Before starting her eponymous company, she held weekend shifts at a local restaurant and delivered food for Uber Eats. Now she expects to hit seven figures in revenue by the beginning of next year.

The 24-year-old cofounder of an NFT art gallery raised $7.6 million in funds on his quest to create the ‘Instagram for NFTs’.

Alex Masmej headshot
Alex Masmej

Alex Masmej made headlines last year after turning himself into a token on crypto-platform Ethereum. Now, he’s working on his next venture, called Showtime, which is an art gallery that focuses on highlighting non-fungible tokens. In April, he raised $7.6 million in venture capital and hopes to make Showtime one of the biggest NFT art galleries in the world.

Three millennial cofounders created a job platform that looks like TikTok and works with Panda Express, H&M, and Everlane.

Three men sit in a grocery store looking at the camera smiling
(L-R) Tristan Petit, Adrien Dewulf and Cyriac Lefort

Tristan Petit, Adrien Dewulf, and Cyriac Lefort are the cofounders of the job platform Heroes, which allows individuals to submit video job applications and lets employers share day-in-the-life videos of workers. The platform seeks to help Gen Z workers get jobs at retailers such as Panda Express and H&M. What’s more, last year it closed a $6 million seed round, led by Greg McAdoo of venture capital firm Bolt.

Entrepreneur Anne Onyeneho turned a cookbook into a meal-prepping business and soon a restaurant.

Anne Onyeneho standing in her kitchen posing
Anne Onyeneho

Last November, Anne Onyeneho authored a cookbook full of plant-based recipes called PlantBaed to help people prepare their own healthy dishes at home. Four months later, she launched a meal prepping service, named after the cookbook, so customers could buy healthy dishes directly from her. She’s on track to net six figures in revenue by the end of this year and looking to open a restaurant.

Millennial fashion designer Alexandra O’Neill is seeing cocktail dress sales skyrocket as customers prepare for the new Roaring 20s

Markarian designer Alexandra O'Neill sits in front of clothes

Alexandra O’Neill is the founder of luxury brand Markarian and made headlines this year after First Lady Jill Biden wore a custom Markarian piece for Inauguration. Since then, the company has seen sales skyrocket. What’s more, O’Neill held her first New York Fashion Week presentation in September, showing off a collection inspired by Lauren Bacall in the movie “How to Marry a Millionaire.”

3 Gen Zers created a competition to connect young creatives with cash and careers amid the pandemic.

(L-R) Harry Beard, Alexandre Daillance, Adam Flanagan
(L-R) Harry Beard, Alexandre Daillance, Adam Flanagan

Harry Beard, Alexandre Daillance, Adam Flanagan launched the competition Prospect 100 last year to help young creatives showcase their work as the pandemic shuttered the arts industry. Since last May, it’s held six competitions with more than 15,000 participants from 82 countries. Additionally, past judges include Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak and Yeezy design director Steven Smith.

Brittni Popp’s 6-figure side hustle is making custom cakes for celebrities like Paris Hilton and Khloe Kardashian.

Brittni Popp

Brittni Popp likes to help people commemorate their important life moments, whether that’s a bridal party, divorce, or even an expunged DUI. Her business, Betchin Cakes, sells customized baked goods that come adorned with decorations like Barbie dolls or empty nips. In the two years since she launched her side hustle, she’s landed high-profile customers like Paris Hilton and Khloe Kardashian, and is on track to make six figures in revenue this year.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Check out 8 pitch decks that legal-tech startups used to raise millions

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The legal-tech space has raised more than $1 billion in funding so far this year.

  • Funding for legal-tech has surprassed $1 billion for 2021 so far.
  • VC firms, private equity, and even traditional law players are pouring money in.
  • Check out these 8 pitch decks for examples of how legal-tech startup founders sold their vision.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

As law firms and their clients seek to digitize and streamline work, VCs have been opening their wallets to the growing legal-tech space. The total value of deals in the global legal-tech market through the end of the third quarter clocks in at $1.47 billion – far surpassing the $607 million figure from all of 2020, according to data from PitchBook.

Private equity firms are also increasingly eyeing legal tech, investing more than $3.6 billion in Q1 of 2021 alone, according to market intelligence platform Bodhala.

Here’s a look at our legal-tech pitch deck collection.


masayoshi son softbank
SoftBank founder Masa Son.

A startup looking to streamline how companies handle contracts nabbed an investment from one of the world’s most high-profile investors in a nod to the rising interest in legal tech.

ContractPodAi, which helps in-house legal teams automate and manage their contracts, raised a $115 million Series C in late September led by SoftBank. The round quintupled ContractPodAi’s valuation since its last funding round in 2019, though the company declined to disclose specific valuation numbers.

The investment came from SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2. Its predecessor, the original $100 billion megafund Vision Fund, has invested in dozens of household names including WeWork, Uber, and DoorDash. While some of the fund’s bets were wildly successful, others fell short of expectations.

ContractPodAi is the first legal-tech investment by either of SoftBank’s Vision Funds.

Here’s the 7-page pitch deck that legal-tech startup ContractPodAi used to convince SoftBank’s Masa Son to lead its $115 million Series C

Jus Mundi

Jean-Rémi de Maistre CEO Jus Mundi
Jean-Rémi de Maistre, CEO and co-founder of Jus Mundi.

Jus Mundi, an AI-powered legal search engine for international law and arbitration, snapped up $10 million for its Series A in September 2021.

In 2019, Jean-Rémi de Maistre, a former lawyer at the International Court of Justice, co-launched the company after realizing how hard it was to conduct research for cross-border legal cases.

Paris-based Jus Mundi raised a €1 million ($1.17 USD) seed round in March 2020, spurring a fivefold growth in annual recurring revenue over the span of 2020, according to the company. Its most recent $10 million Series A was led by C4 Ventures, a European VC firm founded by Pascal Cagni, a former head of Apple Europe. The VC firm has also invested in hot-ticket companies like Foursquare, Nest, and Via.

Here’s the 16-page pitch deck that landed legal research company Jus Mundi a $10 million Series A


LawVu's cofounders, Tim Boyne and Sam Kidd, in front of an artsy wall
LawVu co-founders Tim Boyne and Sam Kidd.

LawVu, an end-to-end software platform for in-house legal teams, snapped up a $17 million Series A in August.

Founded in 2015, the New Zealand-based startup enables companies’ in-house lawyers to manage contracts, documents, billing, and more on one platform.

The funding round was led by the private-equity firm Insight Partners, which has invested in other legal-tech companies like DocuSign, Kira Systems, and ContractPodAI, as well as big-ticket businesses like Twitter, Shopify, and Hello Fresh. AirTree Ventures, an Australia-based venture-capital firm, co-led the Series A.

See the 12-page pitch deck that LawVu, a startup that wants to be Salesforce for lawyers, used to nab $17 million from investors like Insight Partners


Adrian Camara
Athennian’s CEO and founder, Adrian Camara.

Athennian, which helps law firms and legal departments manage data and workflow around legal entities, raised a $7 million CAD (more than $5.5 million USD) Series A extension in the beginning of March, nearly doubling its initial $8 million Series A round last year.

Athennian’s revenue and headcount more than doubled since the original Series A, according to founder and CEO Adrian Camara. He declined to disclose revenue numbers, but said that the sales and marketing team grew from 35 people in September to around 70 in March.

Launched in 2017, Athennian is used by nearly 200 legal departments and law firms, including Dentons, Fastkind, and Paul Hastings, to automate documents like board minutes, stock certificates, and shareholder consents.

The Series A extension was led by Arthur Ventures. New investors Touchdown Ventures and Clio’s CEO, Jack Newton, also participated in the round, alongside Round13 Capital and other existing investors. To date, Athennian has raised $17 million CAD, or around $14 million USD, in venture capital funding, per Pitchbook.

Here’s the small but mighty pitch deck that nearly doubled legal tech Athennian’s Series A to $12 million.


Evisort’s CEO and co-founder Jerry Ting.

Contract tech is the frontrunner in the legal tech space, as companies across industries seek to streamline their contract creation, negotiation, and management processes.

Evisort, a contract lifecycle management (CLM) platform, raised $35 million in its Series B announced late February, bringing total funding to $55.5 million. The private equity firm General Atlantic led its latest funding round, with participation from existing investors Amity Ventures, Microsoft’s venture firm M12, and Vertex Ventures.

Founded in 2016, Evisort uses artificial intelligence to help businesses categorize, search, and act on documents.

Its CEO Jerry Ting founded Evisort while he was still attending Harvard Law School. He spent one summer working at Fried Frank, but soon realized that he didn’t want to be a lawyer because he didn’t want to spend excruciating hours manually reading fifty-page contracts. He did, however, recognize how important they are to corporations, and co-founded Evisort as a tool to locate and track valuable information like a contract’s expiration date and obligations like payment dates.

Evisort’s CEO walks through the 11-page pitch deck that the contract software startup used to nab $35 million from investors like General Atlantic – and lays out its path to an IPO


Contractbook_founders_2 min
Niels Brøchner, Jarek Owczarek, and Viktor Heide founded Contractbook to offer a client-centric tool to manage contracts,

Try to imagine the contracts negotiation process, and one might conjure up a scene where a sheaf of papers, tucked discreetly into a manila folder, is shuttled from one law office to the mahogany table of another. With a stroke of a fountain pen, the deal is sealed.

Those old-school methods have long been replaced with the adoption of PDFs, redlined versions of which zip from email inbox to inbox. Now, contracting is undergoing another digital shift that will streamline the process as companies are becoming more comfortable with tech and are seeking greater efficiencies – and investors are taking note.

Contractbook, a Denmark-based contract lifecycle management platform, late last year raised $9.4 million in its Series A investment round, led by venture capital titan Bessemer Venture Partners. In November 2019, Gradient Ventures, Google’s AI-focused venture fund, led Contractbook’s $3.9 million seed round.

Founded in Copenhagen in 2017, Contractbook uses data to automate documents, offering an end-to-end contracts platform for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Niels Brøchner, the company’s CEO and co-founder, said that Contractbook was born out of the notion that existing contract solutions failed to use a document’s data – from names of parties to the folder the document is stored in – to automate the process and drive workflow.

Here’s the 13-page pitch deck that Contractbook, which wants to take on legal tech giants like DocuSign, used to raise $9.4 million from investors like Bessemer Ventures


Kiwi Camara DISCO headshot
Kiwi Camara, CEO and cofounder of Disco.

Cloud-based technology is having its moment, especially in the legal industry.

As attorneys have been propelled to work remotely amid the pandemic, data security and streamlined work processes are top-of-mind for law firms, leading them to adopt cloud technology.

Investors are taking note. Disco, a cloud-based ediscovery platform that uses artificial intelligence to streamline the litigation process, snapped up $60 million in equity financing in October.

Its Series F, led by Georgian Partners and also backed by VC titans like Bessemer Venture Partners and LiveOak Venture Partners, brings total investment to $195 million, valuing the company at $785 million.

Launched in Houston in 2012, Disco offers AI-fueled products geared towards helping lawyers review and analyze vast quantities of documents, allowing them to more efficiently determine which ones are relevant to a case.

The CEO of Disco, a legal tech that sells cloud-based discovery software, walked us through a 20-page pitch deck the startup used to nab $60 million


Dan Broderick BlackBoiler
Dan Broderick, cofounder and CEO of BlackBoiler.

BlackBoiler is an automated contract markup software that’s used by Am Law 25 firms and several Fortune 1000 companies.

The software uses machine learning to automate the process of reviewing and revising documents in “track changes.” This saves attorneys the time they would typically spend marking up contracts that often use standard boilerplate language.

As a pre-execution software used in the negotiation and markup stage of the contracts process, BlackBoiler has carved out a unique space in the $35 billion contracts industry, said Dan Broderick, a lawyer who co-founded the company in 2015 and is now its CEO.

Broderick walked Insider through the pitch deck the company used to attract funding from investors, including DocuSign as well as 10 attorneys that run the gamut from Am Law 50 partners to general counsel at large corporations.

Check out the 14-page pitch deck that contract-editing startup BlackBoiler used to nab $3.2 million from investors including DocuSign

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Burned out frontline workers are seeking out the lesser evil in their job searches

Hands coming out of a fire inside an open briefcase representing mass job resignation during the COVID-19 pandemic
Many workers are desperate for new lesser evil jobs.

  • Workers are switching industries to get away from abuse, burnout, and harassment.
  • Experts attributed the industry changes to the lack of well-paying, harassment-free hourly gigs.
  • Workers said they recognize every job has its challenges, but they’re choosing ones that benefit their mental health.

Former flight attendant Jada Magwood recalled passengers verbally assaulting her on multiple occasions during the COVID-19 pandemic – including when a police officer had to escort an intoxicated, violent traveler off her plane.

Magwood recently left the travel industry for a job at a tech startup. She didn’t plan on quitting, but the burnout from passenger violence prompted her to seek out jobs without much customer-facing interaction.

Flight attendants, like retail workers and nurses, have endured unruly, and at times violent, behavior from customers over the past year. Some Americans are aggressively opposing mask mandates, while others might be lashing out due to the trauma of the pandemic, experts and workers said.

Workers in general are ditching their usual sector in search of greener pastures. A Prudential survey from April 2021 found that one in five respondents switched jobs during the pandemic, while 26% said they planned to seek new employment after the coronavirus threat subsides.

The abuse “heightened the feeling of being disposable to our airlines during the pandemic,” Magwood said. “At the end of the day, I got to a point where I was not getting paid enough to deal with situations like that.”

Southwest flight attendant cleans the aircraft
Flight attendants are quitting for jobs in different industries due to the uptick in unruly passengers.

Searching for the lesser evil

After months of coping with the abuse, many frontline workers are desperate to find different jobs with new problems that they’re not used to dealing with, gigs that represent the lesser evil. That means beleaguered restaurant staff want to work at warehouses. Tired warehouse workers are desperate to get into retail. Exhausted retail workers are pondering going back to nursing school. And so on.

Magwood said she recognizes working at a tech startup won’t be easy, given the industry’s high rates of burnout and sometimes long work hours. But her company offers mental health days and the ability to work from home permanently, both of which are a welcome change after months dealing with unruly air travelers.

“As a flight attendant, you don’t have the luxury of being able to take 10 minutes for yourself unless you want to stand in the lavatory for those 10 minutes,” she said.

Like Magwood, Jessica Walsh spent much of the pandemic dealing with what she called “snippy,” short-tempered customers in her job in the paint department of a Menard’s craft store in the Midwest.

Walsh said she regularly had to choose between asking sometimes violent customers to put their mask on or letting the shopper potentially expose her to COVID-19. Eventually, she left for a receptionist gig. Walsh said she appreciated how seldom she interacted with clients face-to-face at her new job.

“A lot of people seem to have found other work or expressed moving into different industries; I have a couple friends that have gone back to school,” Walsh told Insider. “The idea seems to be: ‘Get away from retail.'”

worker csat
Warehouses are targeting restaurant workers for recruitment.

Workers and employers are crossing industry lines to find new opportunities

It’s not just employees. The ongoing labor crunch has even prompted a few employers to reach across industry lines in order to attract new applicants. Some supply chain companies strapped for staff are specifically targeting quick-service restaurant employees.

“We’ve found that those types of workers have made a nice transition to warehouse work. They’re very hard workers and used to hourly work,” Maggie Barnett, the COO of logistics provider ShipHero, told Insider.

But the ongoing exodus is likely going to hurt some sectors more than others. Dr. P.K. Kannan, the Dean’s Chair in marketing science at the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business, told Insider that restaurant workers in particular “found other options” after eateries shut down.

But the challenging hiring environment could also prove to be an opportunity for blue collar workers looking to make a big change.

“If you’ve ever had a dream company you’ve wanted to work for, then now is the time to go for it,” Mathieu Stevenson, CEO of hourly work online marketplace Snagajob, told Insider. “Some hourly employers that we work with are basically saying, ‘We will interview anyone who is willing to work with us as long as they meet the minimum criteria.'”

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JOIN OUR LIVE EVENT ON OCTOBER 14: What employers can do to support working parents right now

Insider panelists, from left: Adrienne Schneider, CEO of The Camille Group, and former Director of Benefits at American Airlines; Karsten Vagner, SVP of People, Maven, and Kate Walker, CEO of Presence Learning, and author of "The Good Boss" and "9 Ways Every Manager Can Support Women at Work" on a blue background
From left: Adrienne Schneider, CEO, The Camille Group, and former Director of Benefits at American Airlines, Karsten Vagner, SVP of People, Maven, and Kate Walker, CEO, Presence Learning, and author of “The Good Boss” and “9 Ways Every Manager Can Support Women at Work.”

The coronavirus pandemic created a caregiving crisis, and working parents have paid a steep price. When schools shut down in March of 2020, they became their children’s de facto nannies and teachers, juggling at-home math lessons with Zoom meetings, work email, and other life responsibilities. Today, more than a year-and-a-half later as the delta variant surges and children under the age of 12 remain ineligible for the vaccine, stresses remain.

Some working parents have left their jobs, while many others have scaled back their careers. Mental health issues, meanwhile, have skyrocketed. According to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 70% of parents and caregivers reported poor mental health during the pandemic, compared with a third of people who did not hold those responsibilities.

At a time when companies are struggling to retain workers, the strain on parents and caregivers is no small issue for employers. So, what can they do about it? What kinds of benefits can organizations provide that address caregiver burnout? How can they create part-time and flexible work schedules to keep more women in the workforce and give all employees more control over where and when they work? And finally, what can individual managers do to help parents and other workers juggling outside caregiving responsibilities?

Please join us for a live virtual conversation around these topics, moderated by Insider’s Rebecca Knight, senior correspondent for careers and the workplace. The hour-long chat is scheduled for October 14 at 1pm ET, or 10 a.m. PT. The experts will also be taking audience questions live.

Our guests include:

  • Adrienne Schneider, CEO, The Camille Group, Advisor, Family First, and former Director of Benefits at American Airlines
  • Karsten Vagner, SVP of People, at the Maven Clinic
  • Kate Walker, CEO, Presence Learning, and author of “The Good Boss: 9 Ways Every Manager Can Support Women at Work.”

You can sign up here.

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How tech platforms were dragged into America’s polarized political tug-of-war

A blue Democratic donkey and red Republican elephant playing tug of war with Google, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook logos wrapped in the center on a gray background.
Facebook, Google, Twitter, and others have become targets on Capitol Hill, with lawmakers using them to push their agendas.

  • Lawmakers have weaponized tech firms and their content moderation decisions to drive agendas.
  • It’s the culmination of a slew of factors, like the post-2016 techlash and the Trump administration.
  • Experts say tech animosity has become “a core Republican tenet,” and progressives want more rules.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Tech companies haven’t had an easy time lately, with lawsuits and critique lobbed at them.

But the platforms have also been dragged into a new war in recent years: lawmakers using them and the decisions they make as punching bags to drive their political agendas.

Experts told Insider it’s the product of the post-2016 election realization that online platforms were not all benign, a Trump-era political marketing test, internet platforms’ shift from their historical hands-off approach to content moderation, and mounting polarization in a country where a political tug-of-war was growing ever nastier.

“We’ve always seen polarization in the US,” Ari Lightman, professor of digital media at Carnegie Mellon and social media expert, told Insider. “Social media companies just escalate that.”

Republicans and Democrats want Big Tech reined in – for very different reasons

facebook mark zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at a Senate hearing in 2018.

One of the first major instances of Trump accusing a tech company of anti-conservative bias was in August 2018, when he said Google was promoting former President Barack Obama’s speeches ahead of his own in search results.

“Politicians are always looking for successful marketing, and he was testing the idea,” John Samples – a vice president of the CATO Institute and a member of Facebook’s Oversight Board – told Insider.

It worked, and from that point on, every decision that companies made around what to flag, remove, or keep up on their sites became another data or talking point to support a cause.

For conservatives, that cause was the belief that internet platforms are hellbent on silencing them. And for progressives, the argument that tech platforms don’t do enough to crack down on false facts and hate speech dates back to Obama-era scholars, Samples said.

Once the 2016 US presidential election came around, it didn’t just spawn the “techlash” – it produced a president whose favorite messengers were the very internet platforms he would end up crusading against, and “antipathy toward social media elites became a core Republican tenet,” Samples said.

The divisive tone on social media became even more pronounced by the 2020 election cycle. Republicans repeated Trump’s unfounded claims that the election was stolen, riling up a base that was already heated after a year of pandemic-driven safety protocols. Democrats had to use their platforms to repeat that it was the most secure election in history. Both sides were shouting into a void of followers who already believed what they were saying.

And through it all, members of Congress began pouncing on opportunities to grill tech CEOs, which often devolved into political theater, even though some of tech’s biggest critics in Washington happily use the platforms to their advantage to win elections.

twitter jack dorsey john kennedy
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Sen. John Kennedy at a November hearing in 2020.

After Zuckerberg reportedly said he’d “go to the mat and fight” threats to break up the company, Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that his comments signaled he was against keeping corporate power and monopolies in check.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted last month that “no company should be too big to be held accountable for spreading misinformation” after the Wall Street Journal reported an algorithm change favored divisive false content.

Republican Reps. Madison Cawthorn and Marjorie Taylor-Greene and Sens. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz are some of the loudest voices posting about alleged censorship.

Cruz in January tweeted that “Big Tech’s PURGE, censorship & abuse of power is absurd & profoundly dangerous,” after platforms began suspending Trump following the January 6 Capitol insurrection.

“Some of that is just politics, some of that is a general reaction,” Paul Barrett, a deputy director at NYU’s Stern Center, told Insider. Barrett was among the NYU researchers who published a report that disproved conservatives’ claims of anti-right discrimination online.

Social media companies and the rules they enforce are now inextricably subject to vicious political judgment.

Zuckerberg “went from being angelic to being Satan, and it happened in three or four years,” Samples said. “But it’s really tied up in the politics of the country.”

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WALL STREET RISING STARS: Meet 25 up-and-comers in investing, trading, and dealmaking at firms like Blackstone, Tiger Global, and Goldman Sachs

From left: Julia Jaskolska of CalPERS, Christopher Oglesby of Bank of America, Connie Lee of Tiger Global Management, and Lalit Gurnani of Goldman Sachs with yellow up arrows patterned out behind them on a green to yellow gradient background
From left: Julia Jaskolska of CalPERS, Christopher Oglesby of Bank of America, Connie Lee of Tiger Global, and Lalit Gurnani of Goldman Sachs.

From shaking up investing at the largest US pension system to deploying make-or-break capital to struggling airlines and municipal governments, these 25 people stood out as the future of finance.

Selecting the final list wasn’t easy. We received hundreds of nominations from bosses, colleagues, recruiters, and others working in the finance industry. We asked that nominees be 35 or under, based in the US, and stand out from their peers. Editors made the final decisions.

Insider talked to these rising stars, from leading firms like Goldman Sachs, BlackRock, and Tiger Global, to reflect on their successes, challenges, and best career advice.

Subscribers can see our full list of 25 up-and-coming Wall Street leaders.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Meet 2021’s rising stars of Wall Street

From left: Julia Jaskolska of CalPERS, Christopher Oglesby of Bank of America, Connie Lee of Tiger Global Management, and Lalit Gurnani of Goldman Sachs with yellow up arrows patterned out behind them on a green to yellow gradient background
From left: Julia Jaskolska of CalPERS, Christopher Oglesby of Bank of America, Connie Lee of Tiger Global, and Lalit Gurnani of Goldman Sachs.

From shaking up investing at the largest US pension system to deploying make-or-break capital to struggling airlines and municipal governments, these 25 people stood out as the future of finance.

Selecting the final list wasn’t easy. We received hundreds of nominations from bosses, colleagues, recruiters, and others working in the finance industry. We asked that nominees be 35 or under, based in the US, and stand out from their peers. Editors made the final decisions.

Insider talked to these rising stars, from leading firms like Goldman Sachs, BlackRock, and Tiger Global, to reflect on their successes, challenges, and best career advice.

Subscribers can see our full list of 25 up-and-coming Wall Street leaders.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Citi’s new head of diversity wants to shake up Wall Street: ‘What gets measured gets achieved’

A banner with "The Equity Talk" in talk bubbles with smaller faint talk bubbles behind it on a gridded green background
Erika Irish Brown photo 2015
Erika Irish Brown, Citi’s head of DEI, wants every manager at the firm to embrace inclusion.

  • Insider presents the first installment of The Equity Talk, a new series with executives on DEI.
  • Citi hired former Goldman executive Erika Irish Brown to lead its diversity and inclusion strategy.
  • Brown shared how she wants to change the financial giant and her goals for the next three months.

For over a decade, Erika Irish Brown abided by a mantra during her time working on Wall Street: “What gets measured gets achieved.” Now, in her recently assumed role as the head of diversity, equity, and inclusion at Citi, she’s applying that same philosophy to drive results.

“DEI is not a ‘nice to have.’ It’s a ‘need to have,’ and it’s important we reframe the conversation to be about the value it brings to the business bottom line,” she told Insider. “I think we have to get beyond justifying that business case and get on to actually executing and demonstrating that business value.”

Hired in June, Brown is one of a handful of executives driving Citi’s billion-dollar investment to help bridge the racial wealth gap and increase economic mobility for people of color in the United States. She’s also working on the firm’s goal to increase the representation of women in leadership positions to 40% by the end of 2021, up from 37% in 2018, and to increase Black leadership to 8% in the same timeframe, up from 6% in 2018.

Brown said the firm was on track to achieve these goals. She and Citi CEO Jane Fraser, the first woman to lead a major US bank and an outspoken advocate for inclusion, meet regularly to discuss the future of the firm – and the country.

Before spearheading Citi’s diversity efforts, Brown worked as a DEI executive at large financial institutions such as Bank of America, Bloomberg, and Goldman Sachs. She left investment banking in 2009 to “be an agent for change” and diversify the financial sector, she said.

For the debut of The Equity Talk, Brown discussed how she’s measuring the effect of DEI at the $142 billion firm and her optimistic outlook on 2022.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

How has your experience working in finance influenced the way you approach DEI?

My passion for DEI while I was an investment banker is what led me to make the transition. At the time, there weren’t many, if any, DEI roles on Wall Street, and I wanted to be an agent for change to help drive the conversation forward on important issues like representation, pay equity, and inclusivity. This wasn’t territory that was explored before, and by being in a DEI role and also being a Black woman myself, I knew I could make an impact.

Before joining Citi, you helped Goldman introduce the “One Million Black Women” initiative, in which the bank vowed to invest $10 billion to address racial biases. What do you think will be the legacy of this initiative? Why was this important to you?

In my DEI roles, I’ve always tried to connect the dots between racial-equity, commercial, and human-capital initiatives that drive or make the business case for diversity. And that holds true at Citi, where I have an opportunity to help connect the dots across all our racial-equity work happening within the organization and outside the organization, including our Action for Racial Equity initiative – Citi’s $1 billion commitment to help close the racial wealth gap and increase economic mobility in the US.

There is so much work across our industry to advance racial equity, and I’m inspired by the commitments that have been made by multiple firms. I look forward to supporting progress on Citi’s goals specifically in the years ahead.

You took the helm as the global head of DEI in June. What was one of the first things that you did in your new role?

I’ve spent this period of time – two short months – listening; meeting our people; understanding the strategies in place, the book of work that exists across the firm globally; and really taking stock in all the work that we’re already doing and starting to process in terms of how to approach the future. So the future in building a strong global team is really strengthening that inextricable link between talent and diversity for this firm globally.

You joined Citi in a really interesting time for DEI leaders. There’s a lot of pressure. There’s a lot of accountability happening, but there’s also a lot of support from leaders. How do you feel about this?

I’m excited. Our Action for Racial Equity is a huge initiative and an opportunity to engage with leaders and initiatives across the firm.

I was an investment banker for 15 years, and I’ve been in the diversity, equity, and inclusion space now for 15 years. I’ve always brought that commercial approach to my work. I’ve always seen the business value and the opportunity to leverage diversity as a competitive advantage to source deals differently, to invest differently, to expand into different marketplaces. There’s real opportunity through diversity, including who we buy from, who we do business with, how we support and invest in the communities that we serve. I see all of that at Citi right now.

Now, it’s a matter of how we connect all those dots and show that collective impact and bring it all to bear. I think the benefits of the work that we’re doing can be quite powerful – not just to Citi or the communities that we serve, but globally.

Do you think that managers are starting to see that business case for DEI, that DEI is a business imperative?

I think there is more awareness than ever of the so-called business case for diversity, equity, and inclusion. There’s no shortage of research out there that really demonstrates bottom-line returns through diversity, equity, and inclusion from credible organizations like McKinsey or Catalyst.

You need effective, inclusive managers and leaders in order to bring all of that talent to bear fruit for the firm. So joint accountability and talented people and effective management and leadership are what will move the firm forward. But it takes time, and you want it to be sustainable.

Citi’s CEO Jane Fraser, the first woman to lead a major bank, is an outspoken advocate of DEI. What does it mean to you to have that buy-in from your CEO?

For any diversity and inclusion effort, it has to start at the top. And that’s absolutely an important part. If you don’t have that executive-leader sponsorship, it makes a job that’s already difficult more difficult.

At the same time, a diversity and inclusion initiative doesn’t happen because everybody at the top says it’s going to happen, right? You need to have full buy-in throughout the firm.

I think the more you have an open dialogue around diversity, equity, and inclusion, the more people realize that it’s part of their own role, too. There’s accountability for everyone.

What’s your vision for the future?

My vision is always on how to continue to drive Citi as the best place to work for the best people, to drive shareholder value and move forward toward equity.

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70 promising fintechs disrupting trading, investing, banking, and lending, according to 42 top investors

From left: Karim Atiyeh and Eric Glyman, founders of Ramp, Shuo Wang, cofounder of Deel, Stephany Kirkpatrick, founder and CEO of Orum, and Richie Serna, founder and CEO of Finix with orange pixellated dollar signs patterned out on a light blue background
From left: Karim Atiyeh and Eric Glyman, founders of Ramp; Shuo Wang, cofounder and CRO of Deel; Stephany Kirkpatrick, founder and CEO of Orum; Richie Serna, founder and CEO of Finix.

  • Insider asked more than 40 investors to nominate promising fintechs.
  • Investors nominated startups both inside and out of their portfolio.
  • Fintechs serving businesses, as opposed to consumers, were the vast majority of nominations.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Some of the US’s top investors have placed their bets on the most promising fintechs to watch – and startups that provide back-end tech to other businesses dominated the series.

Forty-two investors – including QED Investors, Two Sigma, and Citi Ventures – named a total 70 startups to watch. The nominations included a mix of fintechs investors have in their portfolio in addition to ones they are impressed by despite having no financial interest.

The vast majority (57) were fintechs that cater to businesses, known as B2B, as opposed to those serving consumers directly.

It was a big year for financial tech startups too, with 20% of all VC investment globally going to fintech, for a record $33.7 billion (a 191% year-over-year increase), according to second-quarter data from CB Insights.

Among the B2B fintechs, infrastructure, payments, and payroll were popular areas of focus. On the consumer-facing front, investors nominated personal-finance apps catering to specific demographics, like teens, immigrants, and the LGBTQ+ markets.

Check out both lists here:

57 promising startups building the behind-the-scenes tech revolutionizing Wall Street

13 of the most promising consumer fintechs aiming to be the next household names

Read the original article on Business Insider