How Goldman CEO David Solomon Is Making Goldman a Less ‘Envied and Feared’ Place
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I never thought I’d read a feature on Goldman Sachs that depicts people dressed as the poop emoji, but here we are. I’m not exaggerating when I say that this profile on Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon has it all.
Published this morning, the piece by my colleague Jen Wiezcner delves deep into Solomon’s one-year tenure as the chief executive of the 150-year-old investment banking behemoth. But before we even talk about Goldman, we have to talk about Solomon’s alter ego as a DJ. In the clubs, he is known as “D-Sol.” From Jen’s feature:
It’s the last Saturday in October, which means it’s Halloween in South Beach, and the club has been made over into an apocalyptic Area 51; the crowd has shown up in a mix of extraterrestrial outfits along with devil horns, bunny ears, and Dracula capes. (When I arrived, I’d given David Solomon’s name at the door, eliciting nothing but a blank look from the bouncer. “D-Sol?” He nodded and opened the velvet rope.) Solomon, brow furrowed, looks comparatively sober in a black T-shirt, white pants, and pink Converse low-top Chuck Taylors. Behind him in the DJ booth, a couple of women appear to be dressed as the poo emoji, a costume they’ve accessorized with rolls of toilet paper and a plunger. For the next hour, Solomon will entertain the revelers, occasionally pumping his fist as he mixes rock guitar riffs from Guns N’ Roses and the White Stripes with 1990s hip-hop and wait-for-the-drop dance beats.
During working hours, Solomon brings a kind of practicality and unpretentiousness to the investment bank that was (in)famously called by Matt Taibbi “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”
When Solomon became CEO, he was advised to preserve “a small core” of Goldman’s cultural values—but he had the freedom to change everything else. In March, he did away with the firm’s age-old dress code, which consisted of a 35-page dossier with rules about suits, ties, and shoe color. This summer, he quietly eliminated the drug testing requirement from its employee background checks. And he removed the ban on taking photos inside the office.
“I think we can do some work to be more admired and respected, and a little less envied and feared,” he told Fortune.
MO’ MONEY, MO’ PROBLEMS: When it rains (money), it pours. Yesterday, I wrote about the far-reaching effects of startup overcapitalization. And I noted that four companies raised more than $100 million in funding. Then I pressed the publish button, and of course, I saw two more. So that means there was a total of SIX companies yesterday touting mega-rounds.
One of those companies was SoftBank-backed food delivery startup Doordash. It’s raising $100 million at a nearly $13 billion valuation, according to Bloomberg. If accurate, this means that the company is selling more equity at roughly the same private valuation of $12.6 billion that it achieved in May. In a time when startups’ astronomical valuations are being scrutinized, some speculate that DoorDash is raising a flat round to make it easier to maintain the valuation, should the company go public in the near future.
The other company was Freshworks, the customer engagement software platform. It raised $150 million in Series H funding at a post-money valuation of $3.5 billion. Sequoia Capital, CapitalG, and Accel led the round.
- Moveworks, a Mountain View, Calif.-based startup using AI to help resolve Help Desk tickets in an automated fashion, raised $75 million in Series B funding. Iconiq Capital, Kleiner Perkins and Sapphire Ventures led the round, and were joined by investors including Lightspeed Venture Partners, Bain Capital Ventures, and Comerica Bank.
- SheerID, a Eugene, Ore.-based identity marketing platform, raised $64 million in funding. CVC Growth Partners led the round.
- Qualia, a San Francisco-based digital real estate closing technology company, raised $55 million in Series C funding. Tiger Global led the round, and was joined by investors including Bienville Capital, 8VC and Menlo Ventures.
- Travelio, an Indonesia-based online residential real estate startup, raised $18 million in Series B funding. Pavilion Capital and Gobi Partners co-led the round.
- Loft Orbital Solutions, a San Francisco-based satellite as a service company, raised $13 million in Series A funding. Foundation Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Ubiquity VC, Uncork Capital, Cendana Capital, Swell VC and GFA Ventures.
- DataCubes, a Schaumburg, Ill.-based underwriting decisioning platform for U.S. commercial property and casualty insurers, raised $15.2 million in funding. Palm Drive Capital led the round.
- Let’s Do This, a San Francisco-based online marketplace for endurance events, raised $15 million in Series A funding. EQT Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including NFX, Y Combinator, Richard Oldfield and Paddy Dear.
- Cybrary, a Greenbelt, Md.-based online cybersecurity career development platform, raised $15 million in Series B funding. BuildGroup led the round, and was joined by investors including Arthur Ventures and Gula Tech Adventures.
- Emerge, a Los Angeles-based cross-reality presence company, raised $12 million in Series A funding. M13 led the round, and was joined by investors including Vulcan Capital and LionTree Partners.
- Siren, an Ireland-based investigative intelligence platform, raised $10 million in Series A funding. Atlantic Bridge led the round, and was joined by investors including DVI Equity Partners, Frontline Ventures and Enterprise Ireland.
- DadeSystems, a Miami, Fla-based developer of payment processing software solutions, raised $9 million in Series D funding. Napier Park Financial Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Fifth Third Capital Holdings and Ocean Azul Partners.
- Total Server Solutions, an Atlanta-based hybrid cloud and edge solutions company, raised $8 million in Series B funding, from Layer 7 Capital.
- Peanut, a London-based social network for moms, raised $5 million in funding. Index Ventures led the round.
- Snowplow Analytics, a London-based company that helps businesses collect and own their customer data, raised £4 million ($5 million) in funding, from MMC Ventures.
- 2ndKitchen, a Chicago-based startup that helps kitchenless businesses serve food by partnering with nearby restaurants, raised $4.35 million in seed funding. Hyde Park Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including MATH Venture Partners, Great North Labs, Bragiel Brothers, and M25.
- Glue Collaboration, a Finland-based cloud-based virtual collaboration platform, raised €3.5 million ($3.8 million) in funding. Maki.vc led the round, and was joined by investors including Reaktor Innovations, Bragiel Brothers and Foobar Technologies.
- Wappier, a New York-based intelligent revenue management platform, raised $4 million in seed funding. Counterview Capital led the round.
- Yodel.io, an Austria-based startup helping businesses handle in and outbound phone-calls at work, raised $1 million from EXF Alpha and Angel Investors.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
- Apollo Global Management acquired Tech Data Corporation (NASDAQ: TECD) for $130 per share in a deal valued at approximately $5.4 billion.
- Canaan Inc., a Hangzhou-based crypto-mining firm, filed to raise $100 million in an offering of 10 million ADSs priced between $9 to $11. It posted net revenue of $394.1 million in 2018 and income of $8.3 million. It plans to list on the Nasdaq as “CAN.” Read more.
- OneConnect Financial Technology, a Shenzhen, China-based platform for financial firms backed by Ping An Insurance, filed for an $100 million IPO. The firm posted $197.8 million in revenue and loss of $111.1 million in 2018. It plans to list on either the Nasdaq or NYSE as “OCFT.” Read more.
- High Road Capital Partners sold Banner Solutions, a Kansas City, Mo.-based wholesale distributor of door hardware, electronic access, and security products, to Tailwind Capital. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Sun Capital Partners sold Horizon Group Holdings Inc, a Newark, Delaware-based residential provider of heating, air conditioning, plumbing and electrical services. The buyer was New Mountain Capital. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
FIRMS + FUNDS
- CVC Capital Partners, a U.K.-based private equity firm, raised $1.6 billion for its second growth fund, CVC Growth Partners Fund II.
- EQT Ventures, a Sweden-based venture capital firm, raised €660 million ($725.8 million) for its second fund EQT Ventures II.
- Accordion hired Ben Brandes and Shauna Watson as managing directors, Mayci Cheng as a senior director, and promoted Jason Madden to managing director.
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