For venture capital and private equity firms, the legwork to identify and pick through the right startups and M&A targets is time-consuming and difficult. That challenge has created a market for tech pros who can use data analytics and online platforms to identify investment opportunities.
As a result, there’s growing demand among VC and private-equity firms for front- and back-end developers with financial-industry knowledge, as well as data visualization and analytics expertise. According to Adrian Czebiniak, CTO at Artivest, a technology-driven investment platform, the trend is likely to continue, given the competitive investing environment and the resulting push for more and better data. Advisors and investors are looking to diversify their investments into alternatives, and fund managers want to diversify their investment base, too.
Programming Experience Needed
The trend means firms such as Artivest are beefing up their tech staff. Artivest is currently on the lookout for a junior- to mid-level developer with Python and Django expertise to work on the company’s next-generation investment platform, in addition to a junior- to mid-level information technology professional to help build and maintain internal infrastructure.
For developers, engineers, and Web designers interested in working in venture capital, it does pay to have some experience with financial technology and the capital markets.
Tony Hill, director of Intralinks Dealnexus, an online deal-sourcing network, believes that knowledge base can shave time off the development cycle. “When you’re building a product, you need to know the financial terminology,” he said. Although putting in time in the IT department of a big bank or financial firm can be plus when it comes to learning procedures and terminology, it’s also a potential drawback if you’re not willing to adapt to the startup mentality at a new financial technology company.
“We have to be far more agile than the legacy products out there,” Hill added, “so you need to expect faster development cycles.”
No Financial Expertise?
But how do you compensate if you lack financial experience? Czebiniak believes seasoned developers who don’t have that background should nonetheless still apply for positions. “Understanding how this industry works is extremely helpful, but we’ve had great success with hiring people from outside of finance,” he said. “It is definitely not a requirement. You don’t need to be an expert in the industry, but you do need to be an expert in what you do.”
If you are specifically targeting the financial market, he recommends getting a handle on the lingo and how private investments work if you want to have a chance.
The Prospects for the Industry
Venture capital and private equity is collectively ready to embrace financial technology in a much bigger way. It’s a change whose time has come, said Hill: “It’s an industry known more for a handshake.”