Why I Left Bloomberg to Join a FinTech Startup

I’ve spent the better part of my life learning about “how things work,” and questioning if there are better ways to do these “things.” Of course, the answer is more often than not, ‘Yes.’ But experience teaches you that not everything is meant to be redesigned. 

Kareem Hamady, COO, AltExchange

But that’s not the case for alts. We need a redesign. 

Identifying gaps in the system 

My first “real” job was as a Risk Analyst on an energy trade floor across the street from Enron, months after the well-known scandal. During my time, I noticed how dependent existing processes were on human intervention. Yet most could be entirely digitized.

Fast forward several years later and I’m an Investment Banker at Lehman Brothers, where I was first exposed to Institutional Private Equity. I remember my early days as a private equity investor like it was yesterday. As I learned more about these investment deals and saw the returns, I constantly wondered, 

‘Why can’t I directly invest in these same products?’ 

It became clear to me how many challenges there were when it came to finding, tracking and reporting investments. In the land of unstructured data constantly moving among various documents, it was my job to keep track of it all.

Navigating the financial crisis

As recovery was underway, in 2010 I joined Bloomberg to design and build their private equity platform — that is what I’ve spent the last 11 years doing. Starting from scratch, my team and I built the products that Institutional Investors rely upon daily to:

(i) source new investments.

(ii) perform due diligence.

(iii) construct their alts portfolio.

(iv) monitor and report across both their public and private capital markets investments.

Throughout this amazing journey, the private capital markets exploded. Crowdfunding portals, crypto exchanges, and online and direct real estate all grew exponentially. 

However, traditional private equity funds have largely been inaccessible to anyone without tremendous wealth. Or at minimum, to anyone without a connected advisor. 

Solving inefficiencies in the alternative investing marketplace at my startup

The answer to solving inaccessibility is simple: Use technology to solve inefficiencies in today’s alternative investing marketplace.

First, build the same type of portfolio management tools that large institutional investors use. And allow free (or a small fraction of the cost) access.

Next, allow users to share their alts portfolio with their advisor. This provides advisors a holistic view of their clients’ portfolio on a common platform.

Lastly, offer direct private equity investments via a tech-first investment platform. 

AltExchange’s mission is to solve inefficiencies in the alternative investment marketplace. Rather than accepting the flaws within the system, AltExchange is determined to make the alts marketplace more efficient, accessible, and simple for all investors. This is why I left a stable job at Bloomberg to join a startup.

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