Goldman Sachs, a major Wall Street bank, is now spinning off its first startup from its internal incubator.
The employee networking platform, called Louisa, which was independent until a few weeks ago, is invested in and owned by Goldman Sachs. Now, the company's founder and CEO, Rohan Doctor, is working to expand his client base beyond just Goldman Sachs. The platform has been used by Goldman Sachs employees for the past two and a half years.
The software automatically creates user profiles from employers' databases and brings in news feeds to proactively reach out to people who might benefit from knowing each other well, according to Rohan Doctor:
We can think of Louisa as an AI-powered LinkedIn, where we have intelligent profiles and an intelligent network, and Louisa crawls and reads millions of articles from 250 providers every week and connects people.
Under the leadership of CEO David Solomon, Goldman Sachs is trying to accelerate its digital transformation and sell the idea of entrepreneurship to its employees by Louisa was part of the inaugural class of the Goldman Sachs Incubator Program, which encourages employees with entrepreneurial ideas to start their own businesses internally.
Doctor, who spent 17 years at Goldman Sachs as head of banking solutions in Asia Pacific and Europe, had the idea to create Louisa after a big deal was struck in 2018.
Today, within Goldman Sachs, the question on employees' minds is whether Doctor's success can be replicated.
This whole thing was purely a coincidental event by chance. The whole idea came to me and another guy over drinks in a London bar.
Doctor thought that there must be a better solution than Louisa. He believes that professional services firms like Goldman Sachs rely on the expertise and contacts of their employees, but that there is a limit to the number of colleagues anyone can know:
This was costing the firm billions of dollars in missed opportunities and disconnects from colleagues and the client experience.
So he returned to New York and began hiring programmers for his startup program.
According to Goldman Sachs, Louisa has more than 20,000 monthly users, but Goldman Sachs declined to say how much money it had invested in starting the company.
Today, Doctor has begun contracting with clients outside Goldman Sachs, including a commercial bank and a venture capital fund that manages nearly $100 billion in assets. He says they will initially focus on five or six professional services clients before expanding the scope of their business.
He believes two factors have contributed to the success of his venture: first, the advent of the era of generative AI; and second, the remote work and hybrid approach to work since the new crown epidemic.
The way it used to be, if a trader had a question, they would poke around a crowded trading floor. The hybrid approach to working is here to stay.