A podcast for listeners wanting to learn more about the ins and outs of the securities brokerage landscape. Each episode will feature interviews with the world's leading investment bankers, placement agents, capital providers, and startup CEOs.
Insightful conversations with leaders in the capital markets.
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A Journey Through Investment Banking, to a Life Meaningfully Lived
It’s almost a cliché that dealmaking in the investment-banking space is a relationship-driven dynamic. Independent investment bankers like to claim this as a fundamental aspect of their work in the business. But it’s the stories behind this dynamic that make it truly come alive as something real and practical—where genuine practitioners of it become worthy of being emulated, and which indeed are inspiring. Graeme Woods’ story is one such inspiring narrative. Join Graeme and Pencils Down host Fed Baradello as they talk about Graeme’s journey through investment banking, and the noble goals his career arc is leading towards, as a direct consequence of the compassion and vision he has had for his clients over the years.
How to Build an Investment Bank from Scratch
It’s almost a cliché in the cultural narrative of the U.S.—attaining the so-called “American Dream” and how people here live that out. Sam Kelly’s story reflects a singular aspect of that: how Americans outside of the mainstream—specifically those from migrant or immigrant backgrounds, communities of color, those from the socioeconomic margins, etc.—reach for that dream, and define it for themselves. In this episode of Pencils Down, Sam reflects back on his public school and undergraduate days, where he had little direction and knew only that he didn’t want to go into government work, as his parents had done. And through his own readings and his gumption to try something different beyond the expectations of his peers and community, found himself working in private equity and finance, after college. Join host Fed Baradello in this human—and humane—story of bootstrapping a life in the financial industry, as it were, via Sam Kelly’s journey into the beating heart of global finance in New York City, USA. Beginning as it did at the very start of the Covid pandemic, Sam’s story about founding Solomon Gideon Capital is extraordinary in its parts, and in its whole.
The Interplay of Investment Banking, Aesthetics, and History
As befits a modern, 21st century industry, investment banking is comprised of people with all sorts of backgrounds and from all walks of life. There are outliers, of course, and this episode of Pencils Down has one such individual as its guest. Before founding Ithron Advisors, Michael Grotell was involved in high net worth marketing in jewelry and fine art, was an award-winning writer, a change management guru, had dual degrees in Economic History and History of Art, among a multitude of other things. A self-styled “CEO whisperer,” Mike shares with host Fed Baradello and his podcast audience some fascinating secrets and insights about his storied career both in and out of the investment banking world.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All—An Investment Banker’s Journey
In this episode of Pencils Down, Matt Epstein, founder and Managing Partner at Newbold Partners LLC, joins host Federico Baradello in a wide-ranging and often deep discussion about his journey into independent investment banking. There was an element of sheer luck, particularly in the way the Covid-19 pandemic intersected with the founding of Epstein’s firm; but also elements of sharp and very profitable insight with respect to what he calls a hybrid merchant banking model. Hear all about that intriguing story in this episode.
Progress Partners: From Digital Disruption to Investment Innovation
Nick McShane, founder of Progress Partners, shares his experience of working with pioneering internet companies and his journey to founding a boutique investment bank that now helps startups with M&A, go-to-market strategy, and accessing new markets. Nick McShane makes for a fascinating guest on this latest episode of Finalis’ Pencils Down podcast, having experienced first-hand the meteoric rise of the internet during the late ‘90s to early 2000s and working with some of the worldwide web’s pioneering companies. He went on to found Progress Partners, a boutique investment bank, and has since been helping startups with strategy work, go-to-market strategy, and accessing new markets. With 35 people based in Boston, New York, and Washington DC, Progress Partners is now also involved with M&A and helping clients who are ready to buy and sell companies. Listen to this episode to learn about Nick's unique journey to founding Progress Partners and his perspective on the modern world of investment banking.
Finalis' Expansion Opens Up Dealmaking Opportunities Abroad
Mathew McConnell, International Business Manager at Finalis
Earlier this year, Finalis took a major step forward, expanding overseas with the launch of its 15a-6 chaperoning line of business, introducing the UK investment banking sector to Finalis’ tech-enabled regulatory compliance solution. Join Finalis CEO Fed Baradello and his Pencils Down guest, Mathew McConnell, the company’s new International Business Manager, as they discuss how non-U.S. boutique investment bankers can gain efficient and expedited access to US capital markets via Finalis’ platform. And, conversely, how bankers on the Finalis platform can potentially access deals and funders in the UK and, eventually, across the EU.
Banking With a Heart—Chad Harding and the PEAK Technology Experience
Chad Harding, Managing Partner at PEAK Technology Partners.
Investment bankers arrive at their eventual careers in a variety of ways, some more orthodox than others. Chad Harding’s was fairly unconventional, in that he started out in chemistry, mathematics, and engineering, from which he took an abrupt 180-degree turn to banking.
In his wide-ranging conversation with Pencils Down’s host, Finalis CEO Federico Baradello, Chad talks about that journey and the various paths and byways that led him to a career in investment banking and venturing on his own firm, after a couple of false—but nevertheless illuminating—starts. There is much hard-won wisdom to be gleaned in Chad’s story, for entrepreneurs and prospective founders.
Join him and Fed in this fascinating story that truly humanizes investment banking, from just a domain that centers on deals and dealmaking, to one that shows that it’s eminently possible to have banking “with a heart.”
Life after Goldman Sachs
Kyrill Asatur's, CEO at Centerfin.
Leaving Goldman Sachs—where Centerfin CEO Kyrill Asatur's career was ascendant—was definitely not a move for the faint-hearted.
In the years since founding his own boutique investment firm, Asatur's firm has been involved—much like Finalis is doing—in the democratization of the investment banking space, which is nothing less than a progressive transformation of the industry, with deep and abiding consequences for the future of finance.
Join Asatur as he shares this story, and much more, with Pencils Down's host, Finalis CEO Fed Baradello, in Episode 19 of the podcast.
The Ultimate Guide to a Revolutionary Startup
Federico Baradello, Founder and CEO at Finalis
The past two and a half years have been an unparalleled time in world history for so many reasons, starting with the exogenous shock of the Covid-19 pandemic. A "black swan" event, as Finalis' Community Manager characterizes it in his wide-ranging interview of Finalis' CEO Federico Baradello, the global pandemic in early 2020 coincided with the launch of this regtech startup with an unapologetically audacious goal—nothing less than creating the world's largest securities brokerage platform.
Tune in to this special episode of Pencils Down, in which its usual host becomes its guest and interviewee instead—as Fed talks about Finalis' beginnings and its phenomenal growth trajectory in just a little over two years, sharing deep and actionable insights about what it takes to found and grow a startup in a space no one previously had thought to develop.
Responsible Investing in an Evolving World
Logan Yonavjak, Founder at Fuego Capital
Even though the concept has been around for a long time, the term “impact investing” didn’t hit our nomenclature until 2007. Historically, that tells you all you need to know about the type of priority something like climate change has had on investing. That’s all changing Logan Yonavjak, Director Of Sustainability at International Farming & Venture Partner & Advisor at SeaAhead, and Founder at Fuego Capital, is upending everything the financial industry has to say about the legitimacy of ESG and cause-based investment.
Consequences of the Covid Era: Moving from Virtual to Hybrid Work
Gaurav Bhasin, Managing Director at Allied Advisers.
A rare positive story from the pandemic is the journey investment banking has taken navigating the shock of COVID-19, moving from adjusting to virtual technologies to embracing the hybrid between in-person and remote work. Gaurav Bhasin, Managing Director at Allied Advisers, has engaged i n cross-border investment banking throughout his entrepreneurial career and sees the challenges of the last three years as an opportunity to push the industry forward, adapting to the needs of clients.
Dropping Out, Rocketing Up: One Company’s Startup Story
Shubham Goel is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Affinity
Most people do not leave Stanford University before receiving their degree, but that is not the case for forward thinking problem solver Shubham Goel and his partner, as they took a leave from Stanford University to build Affinity. Shubham Goel is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Affinity. Affinity is an intelligence platform that allows dealmakers to find, manage, and close the best deals.
Affinity is focusing on building relationships.
Starting a Boutique Investment Bank During a Pandemic
Justin Hand, Managing Director at Westcove Partners
Justin Hand has spent his entire career as an investment banker, in established firms. During the pandemic, he took the extraordinary step of starting his own investment banking firm. Many would think of this as hugely risky, starting a business at the onset of a pandemic—but this has proven to be a largely positive step for Justin and Westcove Partners.
Path to Success: Unlocking Collaboration and Relationships
Daniela Messina, Founder and Managing Member at Portside Capital Solutions
The pandemic has changed much about how our world operates. It has fueled the Great Resignation, ignited conversations about the workplace, and inherently changed the business world. For some, this has presented an unexpected opportunity to leverage years of experience and relationships to embark on a new path of entrepreneurship. In this episode, Daniela Messina, Founder and Managing Member at Portside Capital Solutions, shares her story of founding her own company, building a future on your past experience, and challenging the status quo.
FinTech and the Future of Asset Management
Zach Emig, Capital Markets Leader at MainStreet
Historically, startups and small businesses haven’t had the time or resources to take full advantage of cutting-edge technological advances that will allow them to grow their business. With the emergence of FinTech and product-based, customer-focused financial services, new opportunities for startups and small businesses are being created. In this episode, Zach Emig, Capital Markets Leader at MainStreet , talks about his journey from MIT to Wall Street, and how FinTech is changing the capital markets landscape.
How to Thrive in Chaos: Adapting to Exogenous Factors in Investment Banking
Billy Birdzell, Managing Director at Horatius Group
Within the military, you’re faced with an onslaught of unpredictable moments that need to be handled decisively and with great situational awareness. Armed with that experience, our guest brings these qualities to the world of investment banking. Hear our conversation with Billy Birdzell, Managing Director at Horatius Group.
My Journey Into Entrepreneurship
Federico Baradello, Founder and CEO at Finalis
Description: In this special episode, our guest host and Finalis’ CTO, Guido Barosio turns the table and interviews me, Federico Baradello, founder and CEO of Finalis. We discuss my journey into entrepreneurship, a personal look into my background, and lessons I have learned along the way.
Public Policy, Technology, and the Investment Banking Space
Emanuel Pleitez, Co-founder at East Los capital
Emanuel Pleitez is co-founder of East Los capital, a Los Angeles based tech enabled lower middle-market private equity fund. Emanuel started his career in finance as a banker at Goldman Sachs. He parlayed that into a career in politics, in public policy at the highest levels before diving back into investing.
We discuss his journey to private equity, how he differentiates East Los Capital from the competition and how he sees technology impacting the investing space.
Investment Banking as a Catalyst for Social Impact
Silvio Pupo, Managing Director and CEO at Logos Capital
Silvio Pupo is managing director and CEO at Logos Capital, a global investment bank based in Miami. Silvio started his career in banking at Citigroup and spent the better part of the last decade working on project finance and economic development initiatives in the US and across the world. We sat down to discuss his journey into banking, how he differentiates Logos Capital from the competition, and how he sees the role of a global investment bank catalyzing social impact.
The Silicon Valley Dealmaking Ecosystem
Vitaly Golomb, Managing Partner at GS Capital
Vitaly Golomb is Managing Partner at GS Capital, a global investment bank based in Silicon Valley. Prior to launching the firm in 2018, Vitaly was Founding Partner & Global Evangelist at HP Tech Ventures and served as a C-Suite executive and Founder for multiple Bay Area technology businesses. We sat down to discuss his journey into M&A, how he differentiates GS Capital from the competition, industries that he’s excited about and tracking this year, and what he thinks distinguishes Silicon Valley as a dealmaking ecosystem.
Opportunities for Enabling Technology in Investment Banking
Michael Lamm, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Corporate Advisory Solutions.
Michael Lamm is Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Corporate Advisory Solutions, a merchant bank with offices in Philadelphia and Chevy Chase, Maryland. Prior to launching the firm seven years ago, Michael was a Director at the Kaulkin Ginsberg Company and also co-Founded the U.S.-Israel Business Exchange. We sat down to discuss his journey into M&A, important lessons he’s learned along the way, opportunities to tech-enable more of the ibanking business, and trends he’s tracking this year.
On a Better Alignment of M&A Incentives
Lowell Ricklefs, Managing Partner at Traction Advising
Lowell Ricklefs is the Managing Partner of Traction Advising, a Seattle-based boutique sales and marketing and M&A advising firm that's focused on SaaS businesses. We sat down to discuss his career journey, how he thinks we can better align incentives in an M&A process, advice he’d give a start-up CEO considering an exit, and how he differentiates Traction Advising in a competitive landscape.
Deal Flow in the Asia-Pacific and China, and the “Phase One” Negotiations
David Willard, Founder and Managing Partner at 52 Capital Partners
David Willard is the founder and managing partner of 52 Capital Partners, headquartered in Silicon Valley. He sat down with me to share his career path, his journey into launching his own boutique advisory, how he differentiates 52 Capital Partners from the competition, Asia-Pacific/China deal flow, and advice he’d give to investment bankers looking to launch their own boutique advisory.
The Miami and LatAm Private Markets Deal Ecosystems
Aurelio "Al" Salas, Founder and Managing Principal of Cypress Capital Advisors
Aurelio "Al" Salas is Founder and Managing Principal of Cypress Capital Advisors, a boutique M&A advisory based in Miami, Florida. We sat down to discuss his career journey from bulge bracket banks in NYC to launching Cypress in his hometown of Miami in 2002, his perspectives on the evolving Miami and LatAm private market deal ecosystems, and advice he wishes he had heard when launching Cypress.
Evolving Trends in Investment Banking and Fintech
Alex Koles, CEO, Founder and Managing Director at Evolve Capital Partners
Alex Koles is CEO, Founder and Managing Director of Evolve Capital Partners, a specialized investment bank based in NYC focused on businesses that operate at the intersection of financial services and technology (FinTech). We sat down to discuss his journey into investment banking, his perspective on evolving trends within banking and fintech spaces, and how he sees technology improving investment banking.
Pencils Down Trailer
Federico Baradello, Founder and CEO at Finalis
Host Federico Baradello (Founder & CEO, Finalis) announces a new podcast covering the private markets deal landscape.