EquityZen Knowledge Center

EquityZen has curated this list of quality resources for secondary investors, shareholders and company representatives.
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From College to FinTech — Landing Your Dream FinTech Job

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Asa Lieberman   March 08, 2018

Interested in a career in FinTech? Looking to be on the front line of emerging technologies right in the heart of New York City? Think you know other folks who may fit this description as well? Check out our open positions on our EquityZen Careers page now!

Recruiting is tough. Did I say tough? I meant excruciating. At a certain point in the process, the networking dinners become repetitive, the interview questions grow seemingly stale, and you're not even quite sure if the person on your resume is really you.

In a previous post, we discussed the reasons why joining a FinTech firm out of college presents an exciting adventure ripe with insightful experience, real-world responsibility, and leadership opportunities that a standard finance position might not offer. That was step one: the ideation phase. Once your heart is set on this journey, the next step is a simple one: get the job!

 


Did I say simple? I meant attainable—with a purposeful plan and meaningful interactions. In the following, we will discuss a few things you should be doing if you're hoping to make the leap into FinTech full-time. Before we start, step 0.5 is to apply for a position at EquityZen if you think you're a good fit! Alright, on with the show...

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Year in Review — A Letter from the CEO

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Atish Davda   February 01, 2018

The year that was 2017 will go down in the history books of EquityZen. Within the course of twelve months, we raised our Series B from Draper, grew headcount, surpassed our performance goals, and continued innovating around our platform to best serve our users. In honor of a tremendous year, our CEO, Atish Davda, offers the following thoughts on what we’ve accomplished and where we’re headed next.

2018 is off to a strong start for us and our clients, joining together in helping EquityZen bring private markets to the public. As 2017 turns into a memory, I want to take this moment to share moments of excitement and learning for the EquityZen team.

Last year was a wonderfully wild ride at EquityZen. While Q1 kicked off what looked poised to be a normal year for IPO volume (save for the 11th-hour AppDynamics acquisition), the rest of 2017 was a letdown for the US IPO market. Yet, bankers and deal lawyers remained busy, as did capital market technologists like the EquityZen team. We processed IPOs for platform companies that managed to reach escape velocity and delivered shares for earlier exits whose lockups expired. In spite of this, in 2017 we managed to nearly quadruple our transaction volume year-over-year - that's nearly four times amount of pre-IPO investment access and liquidity delivered.



While our eyes, minds, and hearts are set on building an even greater 2018, I want to share a few moments to reflect on the past year.

Let’s Get Down to Brass Tacks

A year in review cannot begin without first admiring what our team has accomplished:

  • We conducted a private placement transaction every hour the office was open from July to December
  • We more than tripled our revenue relative to 2016
  • We finished off 2017 with record transaction volume, growing nearly 4x from the previous year
  • Our team grew by almost 50% compared to the start of the year

We set challenging goals for ourselves, which makes it all the more exciting to watch our team meet and surpass our own expectations. We nearly doubled our user base last year. We strengthened the core technology that powers our transaction platform. The fruits of our labor as a data provider, industry expert, and thought-leader can be seen across the media, with coverage in major outlets such as CNBC, TechCrunch, Reuters, and many more. Most importantly, we’ve watched our EquityZen family grow while still maintaining the hard-working, engaging, sassy, and fun culture that has served as the driving force for our efforts. You can read about what drives the EquityZen team on EquityZen's Values, a page that embodies what we're all about.

Nothing Else Happened Last Year, Right? 

I would be remiss if I didn’t at least touch upon the whirlwind of news outside of (and sometimes within) our office walls. At this time last year, the words “cryptocurrency” and “blockchain” would barely register to most of us. Now, they have become a seemingly commonplace aspect of our global discourse. Though the recent rise of cryptocurrencies has increased competition for media attention and investors’ mindshare, they have opened up adjacent opportunities for EquityZen; we have served as liquidity partners for prominent firms in the cryptocurrency space. Additionally, heightened regulatory scrutiny on ICOs is welcome news as it will likely translate to greater investor protection, to which we pay close attention.

We continue to keep an eye on the public equities and private market sentiment (see EZMSI). Until the end of 2015, venture-backed companies were chasing growth at any cost. Since late-stage investors (and many public investors) began demanding positive unit economics, some companies have shuttered while others have thrived. The latter group is presumably more attractive, given they likely boast stronger fundamentals today than they did two years earlier. Though the view ahead looks rosier fundamentally, as I mentioned at the top, 2017 turned out to be a disappointing year for IPOs. Read a bit more about today’s typical IPO profile and our IPO outlook for 2018.

What’s on the Horizon 

Last year was terrific, but make no mistake: we’re just getting started. 2018 will be the first full year devoted to identifying a scalable process of new product development where everyone in the firm is actively working on major growth initiatives. We are continuing to expand our research efforts, delivering sector level coverage and thought pieces, such as our Cybersecurity and AI reports, which have appeared on this very blog. Our revenue, transaction volume, and acquisition goals have been recalibrated to keep us hungry and motivated. Last, but not least, we expect to continue hiring and expanding our team all the while emboldening the culture that drives us forward. As one of my newest colleagues put it, “we’re an ambitious yet humble” bunch and I could not agree more.

The work and feedback put in by many incredible people—the staff, our advisors, and our clients—have helped make EquityZen the premiere platform it is today. And it is with that input and with that effort that we will continue to make EquityZen the premier platform for many tomorrows to come.

Thank you for your ongoing support,
Atish

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From College to FinTech — Why I Chose to Forgo a Large Finance Firm to Enter Tech

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Asa Lieberman   December 28, 2017

We take a break today from investor research and tax bills to reach out to the real MVPs of December: the college students who pushed and persevered through finals only to come out on the other side and fall headfirst into resume dumps and interviews. We've been there. This is for you.

The month of December means something special to everyone. For some, hot cocoa and Mariah Carey on the radio. For others, sales emails. So many sales. But for college students, December brings with it the unique one-two combo of finals and recruiting. While the cramming of a semester’s worth of material in a matter of days is a rite of nervous passage for all students, the latter is what can really keep you up at night (aside from Netflix). It’s exciting. It’s terrifying. It’s what a lot of your educational career has been building up towards.

Roughly one year ago, I was that college student. And though many of my friends went the grad school route or into a large bank—both fine options for sure—I chose to leap into FinTech. I couldn’t be happier with my decision, and I think all majors from various backgrounds should consider this route. Here’s why.




Make an Impact Starting on Day One

One paragraph into the “It’s Your Future” blog post and we’ve already hit a cliché. Yet, clichés exist for a reason, and I cannot stress how singularly accurate and important this one is. From the moment I arrived at EquityZen, I have been given the opportunity to tackle intriguing projects that I genuinely want to pursue. By design, you wear multiple hats, work across multiple divisions, and learn a variety of new skills faster. One day I’m piecing together a quantitative strategy to boost customer acquisition; the next, I’m helping design new facets of our website to bolster our user experience. If you’re eager to see your actions channeled into tangible results, FinTech just might be right for you.

The Future is Here (and you stare at its screen all day, every day)

At a FinTech firm, you live at the intersection of cutting edge technology and a financial system that has more or less looked the same since that guy in that musical you’ll never get tickets to. Sure, it’s fun to say words like “disrupt” and “blockchain,” but ultimately what we’re trying to do is simply bring the way we transact and communicate financially into the technologically-proficient world we all live in today. Here at EquityZen, that means streamlining an investment process down to fractions of the time it takes large firms to do the same. Tech is a sprint; you’ll learn how to move fast and (hopefully) not break things. You’ll gain a wealth of knowledge regarding how tech is changing our lives every day. Above all, you’ll learn valuable skills working with tech that will absolutely touch every aspect of your working and personal life moving forward.

Leap Without a Net

Lastly, take this risk, now while you’re young and have so much to learn. There’s nothing quite like working for an early-stage firm, especially in a field like tech. You’ll be forced to problem-solve and come up with quick, thoughtful solutions. You’ll learn how to think on your feet and grow from the experience. Be on the ground floor of a creation you build up with your own work and intuition. Get out of your comfort zone. Allow yourself a chance to make something great. No matter the immediate outcome, the skills and lessons you learn from having an actual voice in the development of a business will pay dividends tenfold.



This next step is a big one. Make it something worth the investment. Go where you will learn, where you will grow, and where you will feel compelled to keep pushing yourself. So, get a refill of that hot chocolate, watch that last episode of Stranger Things, and take a leap. The experiences you will have working in FinTech in just those first few months will teach you more than you possibly can imagine. Get your hands dirty and build the future. You won’t regret it. I know I don’t.

Stay tuned for a future piece outlining steps you can take to better your chances of landing that dream job in FinTech!

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